Assessing the potential economic impact of genetically modified crops in Ghana

Virus-resistant cassava

In many countries, economic considerations are an important factor in government decisionmaking on the introduction of genetically modified (GM) products. However, reliable information on their actual or likely economic impact is often lacking. This brief illustrates the use of a methodological framework to assess the potential economic impact of introducing GM cassava in Ghana. The evaluation is based on analysis of secondary information at two levels: (1) the pertinent industry or sector of the national economy (consumers and producers, linked by markets), and (2) international trade.

Disease Cassava is perhaps the most important food crop in Ghana. The cassava tuber is produced in all but two regions in the northernmost part of the country. Average area cropped per year between 1999 and 2004 was about 750,000 hectares, with the primary producers being the Eastern, Brong Ahafo, and Ashanti regions. Total annual output of cassava during the same period was about 10 million metric tons. This crop is perceived to generate extensive farm and nonfarm linkages for rural development, since it is utilized in various forms. Apart from cooking the fresh root, it can be processed into gari (fermentedcassava dough), tapioca (toasted starch), and cassava flour (crude and refined). All these products are used for human consumption. The cassava leaves are also consumed as a vegetable by some ethnic groups. Although dried cassava chips and cassava pellets are ingredients in livestock feed in Europe, this is not yet a common practice in Ghana.

Horna, Daniela
Smale, Melinda
Falck-Zepeda, Jose
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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