Agricultural Biotechnologies from the Perspectives of Small-scale Farmers in Kenya: A Case Study of Kericho County.

Authors: Tsitsi Agatha Zvingowanisei*, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, International Christian University, Japan
Topics: Africa
Keywords: Food Security, Transgenic Crops, Small-scale Farmers, Agricultural Futures,
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 33
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Even though Kenya has made noteworthy strides in ensuring national food security, small-scale farmers, the dominant population in the agricultural sector west of the Kenyan rift valley, seem to be the hungriest. With an emphasis on how Kenya can enhance its food security, this paper advances thinking on food and agriculture's political ecology in light of its plan of using transgenic crops to ensure socio-economic livelihoods. Through in-depth interviews and participant observations of small-scale farms, we explore three trajectories (more food crops, better food crops, and fewer food crops), representing broader efforts to fix social‐environmental crises. This study found that more vulnerability is posed by introducing gene revolution technologies, primarily transgenic crops. A preliminary investigation found transgenic technologies undermined the rift valley's historical-cultural value, which shaped the farm system that relies on landrace. By investigating the visons, the small-scale farmers choose to sustain their social-economic livelihoods; the study also found that the dominant interpretation is that transgenic crops are powerful tools because they may bring vast socio-economic benefits to Kericho County by enabling farmers to grow a diverse array of agricultural produce. However, some small-scale farmers expressed their concerns about the social-environmental risks posed by transgenic crops. This study concludes by suggesting that the meanings attached to transgenic crops' use are much more nuanced. Thus, small-scale farmers' views and concerns should be noted in the policy arenas to determine societies' agricultural futures.

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