Using translational research to enhance farmers’ voice: a case study of the potential introduction of GM cassava in Kenya’s coast
- 296 Downloads
Genetically modified (GM) cassava is currently being developed to address problems of diseases that threaten the food security of farmers in developing countries. The technologies are aimed at smallholder farmers, in hopes of reducing the vulnerability of cassava production to these diseases. In this paper we examine barriers to farmers’ voice in the development of GM cassava. We also examine the role of a translational research process to enhance farmers’ voice, to understand the sources of vulnerability farmers in a group in Kenya’s Coast face, and to determine if their concerns are consistent with those of the scientists in agriculture addressing farmers’ needs. A two-way communication participatory process provided insights into the complex vulnerability context of farmers, their primary concerns with processing and markets of cassava in order to improve livelihoods, the lack of networks with two way communication flows, and the lack of information on GM technologies. The translational research engaged farmers and scientists in an iterative process where scientists are learning what farmers need, and farmers are learning about the potential benefits and risks from GM technologies, while at the same time expressing their concerns.
KeywordsTranslational research Participatory process Uncertainty Innovation GM Cassava
We appreciate funding from the John Templeton Foundation, grant #29728, for our project “Assessing and Communicating the Risks and Benefits of GM Cassava in Kenya”.
- Agrawala, S., and K. Broad. 2002. Technology transfer perspectives on climate forecast applications. Research in Science and Technology Studies 13: 45–69.Google Scholar
- Danda, M.K. 2013. Determinants for the market competitive edge of the new cassava seed: A case study of Mtwapa mandate area in the Coastal lowlands of Kenya. Unpublished MS thesis, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Nairobi, Kenya: JKUAT.Google Scholar
- Hendrickson, M.K., J.L. Gilles, W.H. Meyers, K.C. Schneeberger, and W.R. Folk. 2014. Choice and voice: Creating a Community of practice in KwaZulu-Natal. South Africa: Agriculture and Human Values, this issue.Google Scholar
- James, H., C. Valdivia, W. Folk, D. Sheikh, F. Murithi, V. Gathaara, M.K. Danda, C. Bett, and G. Mbure. (2014). An assessment of factors facilitating and limiting the adoption of GM cassava in Kenya. Unpublished manuscript. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri.Google Scholar
- Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). 2009. Strategic Plan, 2009-2014. Nairobi, Kenya: KARI.Google Scholar
- Mason, V.I., et al. 1999. Guidelines for participatory monitoring & evaluation of technologies with farmers. Kitale: Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Agriculture. 2011. National cassava development strategy 2012–2016. Nairobi: Ministry of Agriculture.Google Scholar
- Patt, A., P. Suarez, and C. Gwata. 2005. Effects of seasonal climate forecasts and participatory workshops among subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe. PNAS, 102(35): 12623–12628. www.pnas.org.cgi.doi/10.1073/pnas.0506125102. Accessed 1 May 2014.
- Rees, D.J., E.K. Njue, F.W. Makini, and D.M. Mbugua. 1998. Participatory rural appraisals of the farming systems of southwest Kenya, 1995 and 1996. Kitale: Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Slovic, P., and E.U. Weber. 2002. Perception of Risk Posed by Extreme Events. Paper presented at Risk Management Strategies in an Uncertain World, Palisades, New York, April 12–13.Google Scholar
- Sperling, F., C., Valdivia, R. Quiroz, R. Valdivia, L. Angulo, A. Seimon, and I. Noble. 2008. Transitioning to Climate Resilient Development: Perspectives from Communities of Peru. Climate Change Series No. 115. Washington, DC: The World Bank Environment Department Papers, Sustainable Development Vice Presidency.Google Scholar
- Valdivia, C., J. L. Gilles, and M. García. 2010a. Adapting to Change: Institutions and Processes in Linking Knowledge Systems for Action. In Strengthening Institutions to Address Climate Change and Advance the Greening Economy. 2nd Global Conference of Environmental Governance and Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University and United National Institute for Training and Research, 17–19 September.Google Scholar
- Valdivia, C., J. L. Gilles, C. Jetté, R. Quiroz, and R. Espejo. 2003. Coping and Adapting to Climate Variability: The Role of Assets, Networks, Knowledge and Institutions. In Insights and Tools for Adaptation: Learning from Climate Variability (pp. 189-199). Washington, DC: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Global Programs, Climate and Societal Interactions.Google Scholar
- Valdivia, C., A. Seth, J.L. Gilles, M. García, E. Jiménez, J. Cusicanqui, F. Navia, and E. Yucra. 2010b. Adapting to climate change in andean ecosystems: Landscapes, capitals, and perceptions shaping rural livelihood strategies and linking knowledge systems. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100(4): 818–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wilkins, L. 2001. A primer on risk: An Interdisciplinary approach to thinking about public understanding of agbiotech. AgBioForum 4(3&4): 163–172.Google Scholar
- Woolf, S.H. 2008. The meaning of translational research and why it matters. Journal of the American Medical Association 299(2): 211–213.Google Scholar