The Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops on Intra-Household Dynamics in Four African Countries

Authors: Matthew Schnurr*,
Topics: Rural Geography
Keywords: Genetically Modified crops; gender; Africa
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In their long-awaited assessment of Genetically Modified technology released in 2016, the US National Academy of Sciences concluded that ‘the analysis of the gender implications of GM crops remains inadequate’ (NAS, 2016, p.11). Scholars agree that underlying social inequities between men and women will play a crucial role in shaping outcomes associated with the introduction of GM crops, yet there is scant empirical evidence assessing the impact of these technologies have on gendered dynamics at the household level. This paper seeks to address this gender gap by advancing a collaborative model for investigating how gender dynamics are impacted by the introduction of GM technology. I focus on four case studies in Sub-Saharan Africa - South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana - where GM technologies have been given license-free for use in ‘orphan’ crops; that is, staple crops that have largely been ignored by private sector innovation and innovation. These second-generation GMOs are being promoted as a game changing technology in the fight against poverty and hunger, yet there are no systematic analyses of how they will impact gendered divisions of labour, access to and control over resources, and decision-making within small-scale agricultural production systems. This paper presents preliminary results from a participatory, mixed methods study that seeks to assess whether these soon-to-be-released GM varieties can contribute to gender transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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