This research report highlights findings from a set of studies undertaken by applied economists on the impact of improved banana cultivars and recommended management practices in the East African highlands. A particular focus of the analysis is genetic transformation of the cooking banana. Genetic transformation to achieve pest and disease resistance of the cooking banana is a promising strategy for smallholder farmers in this region. Biotic constraints are severe and not easily addressed through conventional breeding techniques or control methods. Exports on the world market are currently negligible, so that the risks of reduced exports due to policies against genetically modified foods are low. The crop is both an important food source and a significant generator of rural income, which means that improving productivity could have great social benefits.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)