E. Kikulwe, J. Wesseler, J. Falck-Zepeda
The introduction of a genetically modified (GM) banana (Musa spp.) in Uganda is not without controversy. It is likely to generate a wide portfolio of concerns as the technology of genetic engineering is still in its early stages of development in Uganda. The purpose of this study is to show how consumers feel about GM banana biosafety risks and the potential challenges for marketing the product. The study analyzes socio-demographic characteristics, awareness and attitudes of banana-consuming households that would be affected by the introduction of a GM banana in Uganda. The study was conducted in different regions in Uganda where cooking bananas (‘matooke’, AAA-EA genome) are produced and consumed, including urban areas that are sole consumers of bananas. This allowed us to capture the heterogeneity in preferences across different population segments. The survey sample was drawn using a random multistage sampling procedure from the major banana-consuming regions in eastern, central, and southwestern Uganda. Respondents were stratified into rural and urban consumers of ‘matooke’ and received extra information about the GM banana. A total of 440 households were selected from current village listing for the survey. The results reveal that consumers trust local community leaders and public agricultural related organizations in controlling and regulating production and release of GM food and crops. Three main categories of consumer perceptions were identified: a) benefit; b) food and environmental concern; and c) future health concern. A comparison of consumer characteristics, perceptions and attitudes showed significant differences between rural and urban consumers. Consumers in rural areas are more likely to accept the introduction of a GM banana regardless of whether they grow or buy bananas. Urban consumers are more concerned about long-term health effects. Finally, we discuss the implications of the results for biotechnology and biosafety regulations for GM bananas in Uganda.
Kikulwe, E., Wesseler, J. and Falck-Zepeda, J. (2010). CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS TOWARDS INTRODUCING A GENETICALLY MODIFIED BANANA (MUSA SPP.) IN UGANDA. Acta Hortic. 879, 175-183
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.879.16
acceptance, awareness, biosafety, GM food

Acta Horticulturae