Farmers’ Perceptions of Socio - Economic Biosafety Considerations Regarding Adoption and Use of Biotechnology: A Case Study of Sithobeleni and Lesibovu Communities in Swaziland

Main Article Content

A. M. Dlamini
C. Malima
Z. Hlandze

Abstract

Agriculture plays a great role in the economy of Swaziland. It is also important for food production. Over 70% of the agriculture is practiced in the rural sector where mainly food crops are produced under subsistence farming systems characterized by large hectares cultivated with corn and a high cattle population producing low yields. Biotechnology has potential to improve agricultural production. Biosafety procedures have been developed to ensure safe handling of products of modern biotechnology. The aim of this study was to determine socio economic considerations for risk assessment when products of modern biotechnology are introduced into the environment. Information was obtained from key informants and focus discussion groups of cotton, maize and cattle farmers from Lesibovu and Sithobeleni communities. Key biotechnologies already practiced in the communities included production and use F1 hybrid maize seeds as well as artificial insemination in dairy cattle. The major socio economic factors that should be considered when new technologies are introduced include consideration of community norms and values such as seed sharing and seed saving, considerations of cultural and religious beliefs such as objection to eating of some animal species, and acceptability of products of modern biotechnology by markets. Major constraints limiting implementation of technologies in the communities include difficulties with acquisition of inputs, drought and shortage of advisory services. It was observed that farmers were willing to adopt modern biotechnology provided that it was safe to public health, animal health and the environment. The technology should be legally acceptable in the country and be approved for use elsewhere. It was concluded that there is need to ensure that socio-economic factors form part of the risk assessment protocol when applications are considered for the release of products of modern biotechnology to the environment. Socio economic considerations should also form part of public awareness campaigns and training prior to the introduction of modern biotechnology into communities.

Keywords:
Biosafety, modern biotechnology, socio-economic, genetically modified, risk assessment.

Article Details

How to Cite
Dlamini, A. M., Malima, C., & Hlandze, Z. (2015). Farmers’ Perceptions of Socio - Economic Biosafety Considerations Regarding Adoption and Use of Biotechnology: A Case Study of Sithobeleni and Lesibovu Communities in Swaziland. Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, 8(4), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.9734/JSRR/2015/18610
Section
Original Research Article