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This report documents the discussions and results of a research design workshop held at the Equatoria Hotel in Kampala, November 7-11, 2002. The meeting was the first formal gathering of the stakeholders of the project .Assessing the social and economic impact of improved banana varieties in East Africa.. The goal of the project is to fortify the impact of improved banana varieties on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in East Africa. Banana (Musa) is a primary food staple as well as an essential cash crop for the region.s smallholder farmers. Declining yields brought about by pests and diseases and decreasing soil fertility have compromised food and income security. In selected banana-growing areas, farmers have begun to adopt improved varieties that have only relatively recently become available from the small number of banana breeding programs in existence globally. The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) in Uganda, meanwhile, has embarked upon an ambitious breeding program that employs a range of biotechnologies to address the crop.s most debilitating pests and disease problems (nematodes, weevils, Fusarium wilt and Black leaf streak disease). This impact assessment project seeks to support areas of scientific research and policy affecting banana production by employing a unique approach that integrates economics tools and sociological methods within a common conceptual framework. The emphasis is on making a difference during, rather than after, the research or policy decisions have taken place. Furthermore, by evaluating and predicting the effects of improved varieties on farmer livelihoods, participating organizations will be able to target their work more appropriately towards livelihood needs. This workshop represented the first attempt to bring economists, sociologists and agricultural scientists together to discuss the design of the study and the practicalities of its execution.


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