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The Challenge of Change: A Case of Introduction of Genetically Modified Cotton in the Kingdom of Eswatini

Journal: International Journal of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology (Vol.3, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 1124-1138

Keywords : Adaptable to change; Eswatini cotton industry; Genetically modified cotton; New product development; Product life cycle.;

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In Eswatini cotton contributes merely 2.1 % of the country's Gross Domestic Product owing to viability challenges.Farmers grow hybrid cottonwhich is now in the decline stage of its life cycle, no longer profitable andcausing persistent challenges to farmers.Other cotton growing countries like United States of America, Canada, Australia and South Africahave replacedhybrid cotton with the more profitable genetically modified cotton. This strategy can be a viable alternative for the Eswatini cotton industry too. The study identified perceptions that Eswatini cotton industry stakeholders have towards genetically modified cotton. In-depth interviews were held with 8 informants selected based on their experience and knowledge about the cotton industry.The study revealed that 2/3 of cotton farmers suspended growing cotton owing to viability problems.Although genetically modified cotton has higher input costs these were easily offset by higher yields and less use of pesticides and labour. The study indicated that farmers required additional capacity to be able to grow genetically modified cotton. The study recommended that industry stakeholders must adapt to change and embrace genetically modified cotton which was successfully implemented in other countries. Liberalisation of the cotton industry was also recommended to pave way for the farmers to try the new product. Training of farmers was recommended as a strategy of capacitating the farmers on how to manage genetically modified cotton and challenges associated with the new technology. Further research is recommended about the modalities of optimising the benefits of genetically modified cotton and how cotton farmers can be supported.

Last modified: 2018-07-27 01:11:55