By Mekonnen Teshome
Addis Ababa (June 27, 2020) – An ex ante economic assessment of TELA , a drought tolerant and insect resistant maize, reveals that if the BT-maize is planted in 2023, the net present-value of benefits for producers and consumers would be around $ 850 million.
The study that involved nine experts and published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), indicates that the genetically modified maize can help address the abiotic and biotic constraints the crop faces which are insect attacks and droughts.
According to Ethiopian authorities in the agricultural sector, genetically modified maize is currently under confined field trial and Bt-cotton is already licensed in 2018 and entered into plantation while Enset (Ensete ventricosum/false banana) is under contained laboratory research which is highly affected by bacterial wilt and no effective solution was yet found through classical methods.
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) Agricultural Biotechnology Director, Tadesse Daba recently told reporters that his institutions is working to alleviate agricultural productivity challenges like crop diseases and drought including bollworm (moth caterpillar) that attacks the cotton in Ethiopia.
EIAR Director-General, Mandefro Negusse also on his part said: “genetically modified crops are productive, drought tolerant and diseases resistant.”
The new IFPRI assessment also states that producers from the mid-altitude maize zone will be the main beneficiaries, given the targeted area of TELA maize.
According to the experts, the new analysis is conducted using an economic surplus partial equilibrium model run with the newly developed DREAMpy software, data drawn from the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey, Wave 3 2015-2016, econometric estimations using these survey data, and other local data and sources.
“Over the years, maize has become a main food security crop, widely produced and consumed by smallholder farmers, second only to teff in terms of area,” the study indicates.
Despite the sustained growth of maize production over the years, its yields continue to be lower than the world’s average.
It says that the high priority placed on accelerating agricultural growth and achieving food security and poverty alleviation is at the center of Ethiopia’s economic growth.