2021 (3)      July - September, 2021

Comparative incidence of maize stem borers on GM and non-GM maize under two smallholder cropping systems in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa

Daniel Ashie Kotey1,2*, Yoseph Assefa2,3, Johnnie Van den Berg 4


1Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute, P.O. Box 7, Bunso, Ghana.

2Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Fort Hare, Alice, 5700, South Africa.

3Department of Crop Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Swaziland, Luyengo, M205, Swaziland.

4Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa.


 The assessment of the comparative performance of existing technologies especially those identified as alternatives under smallholder farmers’ conditions can enhance the sustainable dissemination and adoption of improved agricultural technologies. To this end, the performance of a genetically modified (GM) stacked-trait herbicide and insect resistant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize hybrid was compared to a GM herbicide tolerant hybrid, a non-GM hybrid and an open pollinated variety (OPV). The trials were conducted in three localities under natural stem borer infestation in irrigated and non-irrigated (dryland)No stem borer infestation was observed on Bt maize plants from the seedling to the flowering stages in all fields at all trial sites. Stem borer infestation was higher under irrigation compared to dryland conditions. The stem borer complex on non-Bt maize plants under irrigation was dominated by Chilo partellus whilst only Busseola fusca larvae were recorded under dryland conditions. The yield of the Bt maize variety under irrigation was significantly higher than that of the OPV but not different (P>0.05) from that of the non-Bt hybrids. No significant (P>0.05) difference in yield was between Bt and non-Bt maize varieties under dryland conditions. The results highlight the need to base dissemination and adoption decisions of relatively expensive agricultural technologies such as GM maize on the results of context specific field trials.

Keywords:  GM maize open pollinated maize, smallholder, stem borer

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