Keywords: agricultural biotechnology, Republic of South Africa, Bt-maize, subsistence crops, developing countries, genetically modified organisms, GM crops, pesticide reduction
A GM subsistence crop in Africa: the case of Bt white maize in South Africa
The Republic of South Africa (RSA) is the first developing country to plant genetically modified staple food – Bt white maize. The following paper describes the development and spread of Bt maize in RSA that started in 1998. After that, based on surveys of 33 large commercial Bt maize farmers and 368 smallholders in 2001/2, it shows that Bt maize gives higher yields for both groups and reduces pesticide use particularly for the large commercial farmers. The paper concludes with a discussion of policy options which would make the Bt maize more accessible to more small holders.