African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12332

Full Length Research Paper

Assessing the potential economic impact of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize in Kenya

Hugo De Groote1*, William A. Overholt2, James O. Ouma3, and J. Wanyama4          
1International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), P.O. Box 1041-00621 Nairobi, Kenya. 2Indian River Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2199 South Rock Road Fort Pierce, Florida, USA. 3Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), P.O. Box 27-60100 Embu, Kenya. 4KARI, P. O. Box 40-30200 Kitale, Kenya.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 January 2011
  •  Published: 01 June 2011


The Insect Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA) project is currently developing Bt maize for Kenya. So far, Bt genes with resistance to Chilo partellusChilo orichalcociliellus,Eldana sacharina, and Sesamia calamistis, four of the five major stemborers were successfully incorporated into elite CIMMYT maize inbred line (CML216) and tested in insect bioassays in Kenya. Participatory Rural Appraisals showed that stem borers are indeed major pest problems for farmers. Four seasons of on-farm crop loss assessment showed an average crop loss of 13.5%, or 0.4 million tons, valued at US$ 80 million. If the project manages to find a Bt gene that is effective to the fifth stemborer, Busseola fusca, adoption rates are likely to be high, and therefore the returns. Under standard assumptions, the economic surplus of the project is calculated at $ 208 million over 25 years (66% of which is consumer surplus) as compared to a cost of $5.7 million. Geographically, the project should focus on the high production moist-transitional zone. However, if such gene cannot be found, Bt maize technology would only be effective in the low potential areas, and adoption rates would be fairly low, although benefits would still exceed costs.


Key words: Maize, genetically modified crops, Bacillus thuringiensis, adoption, economic impact.


GM, Genetically modified; NGOs, Non-Governmental Organizations;IRMA, Insect Resistant Maize For Africa; CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre; KARI, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute; S, supply; P,price; D, demandP*, equilibrium price; Q*,  equilibrium quantity; DREAM, distributed real-time embedded analysis method; IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute; LT, lowland tropics; DM, dry mid-altitudes; DT, dry transitional; HT,highland tropics; MT, moist transitional; OPV, open pollinated varieties; IRR, internal rate of return.