Determinants of Consumer Perception towards Genetically Modified (GM) Foods in Higher Learning Institutions in Kenya

Eric .K. Bett, Newton Nyairo, David .M.O. Ayieko, Julius. O. Amolo


Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been developed to ensure food and security nutrition in the world, income generation and environmental protection for resource poor farmers. However, there are some unquantifiable risks and claims associated with GMOs. In spite of these risks, the benefits of using GMOs still outweigh the risks associated with their use. Persistent controversies and claims that GMOs are harmful to human health and the environment have led to uncertainty in their adoption by most countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where hunger is most prevalent. Therefore, this is a clear indication that the benefits of GMOs are unlikely to be realized. In most industrialized countries public perception of GMOs has been thoroughly investigated. In Africa, consumers  have a negative perception towards GMO products. Therefore it was on this basis that the study was conducted to assess the consumer perception of genetically modified tomato at Kenyatta University. A total of 100 respondents were sampled using random sampling among various faculties. A questionnaire was administered online and the data analyzed in STATA 11. The results showed that 67% of the respondents were male and there was a significant difference in education level (p<0.001). In addition, the willingness to pay for GM free tomato, GM tomato attributes, acceptance of GM tomato, GM tomato production techniques and consumer awareness on: GM tomato importation, GM tomato safety and knowledge had an influence on consumer perception towards GM tomatoes. It is recommended to focus on establishing information hubs; integrating organic farming approach into extension services and diversification of the marketing strategy to improve on consumer perceptions.

Keywords: Risks, malnutrition, perception, premium, controversies

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