Kenya’s agriculture cabinet secretary Peter Munya recently planted the country’s first transgenic Bt cotton seed with farmers at Alupe University College in Busia County, leaving behind Uganda that first studied the crop a decade ago. The cabinet had granted approval for commercial farming of the cotton variety last December to revitalise the textile sector.
The planting in Busia marks the first of 1,000 on-farm demonstration plots to be planted in 23 counties for training at least 40,000 farmers prior to full commercial roll-out countrywide, according to Kenyan media reports.
Bt cotton has been improved with the ability to resist the African bollworm, the single most destructive cotton pest, causing up to 100 per cent loss. With this variety, production costs for farmers are expected to reduce to a fourth.
The country aims to have over 200,000 acres under commercial Bt cotton cultivation, creating over 25,000 jobs for Kenyans along the value chain.
In Africa, South Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Eswatini use Bt cotton.
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