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Abstract

This study estimates the proportion of dry bean yield increase in South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC) released dry bean cultivars that are attributable to genetic improvements through the ARC breeding program. Using data from 32 test plots across South Africa, the study quantifies the yield and yield variance evolution attributable to the breeding program. In addition, this study calculates the economic benefits to small landholder’s attributed to the ARC dry bean breeding program. Results indicated that by releasing modern dry bean cultivars, the ARC dry bean breeding program increased average producer yield by 11.42 kg/ha annually. During the period of 1972 to 2014, the ARC Breeding Program contributed 489.36 kg/ha cumulatively (11.42*42) to dry bean yields solely from genetic improvements, which is equivalent to a 23.15% (489.36/1130.78) increase in producer yields. The benefits associated only with the genetic gains from the breeding program are estimated to be 701.4 million Rand (46.8 million USD) from 1992-2014. Using historic ARC breeding costs the benefit cost ratio was estimated to be 5.67:1. Like every other country in the world South Africa continuously has to battle for agricultural R&D funds to support programs like ARC whose role is to help small scale producers in Africa. As such, we find the annual genetic gain attributed to the ARC Breeding Program has increased, and the returns to the breeding program continue to play a large role for dry bean farmers and consumers in combating food insecurity.

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