Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 4/08

Adoption of conventional biotechnology under declining smallholder crop productivity: case of tissue cultured sweet potatoes

Edward Mutandwa, Christopher T. Gadzirayi and Jordan Chihiya
Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe


This study explored the factors influencing the adoption of tissue cultured sweet potato varieties and impact on productivity among smallholder farmers in Hwedza District of Zimbabwe. A multi stage sampling approach was used to select 133 households for inclusion in the survey. Structured and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from key informants such as extension officials and biotechnology technocrats located at various institutes in the country. Sweet potato yields were 1.8 tonnes and 0.5 tonnes per ha for tissue cultured and unimproved sweet potatoes, respectively. Adoption was influenced by gender, training, the household’s perception of sweet potato enterprise, and age of the household head (P<0.05). There is need to provide training in the production and marketing of the crop and mainly target women farmers in scaling up use of tissue-cultured sweet potatoes given the role they play in household food security achievement.

Keywords: adoption, tissue culture, sweet potatoes, smallholder farmers, conventional biotechnology

JEL: Q 160

Vol. 47 (2008), No. 4: 327-342