What options are there for farmers in East Africa to improve their gains from agricultural production? Using the example of the banana, the author empirically examines two approaches. First, planting material options are checked, with a focus on biotechnologically fortified plantlets, and then secondly, group marketing endeavors of banana producers are taken into focus. The analysis of the case studies is embedded in a review of literature on the East African banana system.
Evidence from the field suggests that, despite considerable efforts by development agents, biotechnologically fortified banana plantlets have not achieved a breakthrough in terms of adoption by banana system stakeholders so far. Looking especially at banana tissue culture plantlet hardening nurseries, this book illuminates some of the reasons why adoption rates are not picking up despite the seemingly obvious advantages of the material.
Apart from the planting material option, improvements in the position of banana farmers can be achieved through collective action. Beneficial effects, both financial and social, could be verified for the case of Ugandan banana farmer marketing groups. These groups tended to have several other purposes besides banana marketing. Information of ungrouped farmers and buyers, and their rationale, are compiled and contrasted with the grouped respondent’s estimations, drawing a comprehensive picture of the situation. Giving a critical, but generally optimistic overview over major elements of the East African banana system, this book is aimed at sparking further discussions among current stakeholders and making it easy for readers new to the subject to gain first insights into the topic.