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Crop Science Abstract -

A Cost Analysis of Maintaining Cassava Plant Genetic Resources


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 37 No. 5, p. 1641-1649
    Received: Apr 8, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): jepperson@agecon.uga.edu
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  1. James E. Epperson ,
  2. Douglas H. Pachico and
  3. Claudia L. Guevara
  1. Dep of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 301 Conner Hall, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7509



Costs represent a chief consideration as a major constraint to germplasm preservation. The objective of this study was to ascertain in detail the costs for cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) germplasm storage to identify potential areas for greater cost effectiveness. The cost analysis for this study encompassed the field and in vitro parts of the cassava collection at the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), near Cali, Colombia. The isozyme laboratory costs used for genetic evaluation also were included in the analysis. The total cost of in vitro preservation of cassava germplasm at CIAT was about 53% more than that for field preservation. Variable costs (those that can vary within the year) were quite high for field preservation relative to that for in vitro preservation. Labor comprised a large part of the cost for both operations. Labor was considered part of the fixed cost (those that cannot be varied within the year) for in vitro preservation although it was a variable cost for field preservation. Skilled labor is required for the in vitro facility and cannot be varied in the short run without endangering the security of the collection. Further, since variable costs were quite high for field preservation, relative to that for in vitro preservation, greater cost savings can be achieved in the short run by reducing accessions and replications of accessions in the field where prudent. Use of the isozyme laboratory is cost effective if procedures allow the identification and elimination of duplicate accessions for both field and in vitro preservation of the collection.

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