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Building Trust in Stakeholder Communication for Agbiotech Projects: Lessons from sub-Saharan Africa Obidimma Ezezika and Justin Mabeya Sandra Rotman Centre, University Health Network and University of Toronto

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Building Trust in Stakeholder Communication for Agbiotech Projects: Lessons from sub-Saharan Africa

Obidimma Ezezika and Justin Mabeya

Sandra Rotman Centre, University Health Network and University of Toronto

Paper presented at the 16th ICABR Conference – 128th EAAE Seminar, Ravello, Italy, June 24-27, 2012



Introduction
Introduction

Why trust and communication?

Distrust between the public and the private sector partners.

The public sector views the intentions of the private sector with suspicion

The private sector views the public sector as slow, inefficient and resistant to change

This has been attributed to limited communication


Introduction1
Introduction

  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplants under field trials uprooted by local authorities of Davao City in Philippines

Before

After


Methodology
Methodology

The purpose

Conducted 8 case studies across Africa to understand the role of trust in the agbiotech partnership

Data collection and analysis

Data collection (2009-2011) by stakeholder interviews, project documents and literature and direct observations

Analysis was based on recurring emergent themes from the interviews, documents and observations


Methodology

  • Here we present preliminary findings from 5 case studies from East and West Africa

    • On “Building trust in stakeholder communication for agbiotech projects”

Insect Resistant Maize for Africa, Kenya

Bt Cotton,

Burkina Faso

Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa,

Uganda

Bt Cowpea,

Nigeria, Ghana

Bt Cotton, East Africa


Results and discussions
Results and discussions



  • Disagreement around the GM technology

    • Between the proponents and opponents of the GM technology , e.g. in IRMA


  • Limited understanding and or information

    • “Even….the scientists and the researchers, are having a hard time in understanding and trusting that this [GM crops] will be good”– An interviewee of Bt cotton EA

  • Poor funding for communication and outreach, which limits the amount and quality of information available to the public

  • Low priority -

    • “the communication and outreach component is somehow weak....and a lot more emphasis has been laid on the product development” – An interviewee of VIRCA


  • Media influece

    • “people therefore perceive them [private sector and the multinationals] the way...the media has portrayed them” – A scientist from IRMA

Kenyan under fire for allowing import of GMOs

Published on 03/07/2011

By David Musyoka and Peter Mutai


Practices for effective agbiotech communication

  • Provide clear and correct information in the public domain

    • “get enough correct information out there [in the public]” – IRMA interviewee

  • In-build communication early in project life

    • communication and other components should be brought “on board at ago [concurrently] and move consistently” – VIRCA interviewee

  • Communicate the benefits of the technology to the farmers

    • “tell them [farmers] the benefits you are getting from this technology and the shortcomings, it will work” – Bt cotton EA


  • Present harmonized information to the farmers

    • For example: “the National Biotechnology Awareness Creation Strategy (BioAware Kenya)

  • Use multiple channels to communicate with stakeholders

  • Provide training for stakeholders

    • Journalists and extension officers and scientists on how to communicate – Bt cotton Burkina Faso and IRMA


  • Demonstrate transparency

    • “Let them know what problems there are, the risks there are and let them know what risk mitigation strategies are there” – A scientist from IRMA


Conclusions
Conclusions

Challenges to stakeholder communication were observed, as practices to strengthen stakeholder trust were overlooked

This contributes to distrust between the public and the agbiotech partnership

Communication practices should be considered early in project development to ensure trust is enhanced among stakeholders and partnership is sustained


Thank you
Thank you!

Additional funding partners listed at www.mrcglobal.org


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