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“No one asks for a meal they’ve never eaten.” Or, do African farmers want genetically modified crops?


This article reflects on the relative silence of African farmers within debates around the potential for genetically modified (GM) crops to transform agriculture on the continent. It proposes two strategies for amplifying these voices—one focused on research methodologies, the other on outreach—in order to transform the conversation around GM’s potential in Africa into one that revolves around farmer preferences and priorities.

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  1. Funding for this research was generously provided through the John Templeton Foundation Grant #28469 ‘Can Genetically Modified crops help African farmers? Investigating attitudes and intentions to adopt GM matooke banana in Uganda’.

  2. Yields are represented by accompanying size of bunches that range from small to large. The specific yields for Variety X and Variety Y depend on the particular variable under investigation, though all depict Variety Y (simulating the GM variety) as having a larger yield than Variety X (simulating the conventional variety).


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Correspondence to Matthew A. Schnurr.

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The quote in the title comes from a scientist interviewed on June 12, 2010.

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Schnurr, M.A., Mujabi-Mujuzi, S. “No one asks for a meal they’ve never eaten.” Or, do African farmers want genetically modified crops?. Agric Hum Values 31, 643–648 (2014).

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  • Genetically modified crops
  • Farmers
  • Uganda