Should Zimbabwe adopt GMO pest-resistant cotton to revive production?

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

As debate on production and consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) rages on, Zimbabwe needs to make a decision as other countries in Africa are either carrying out controlled trials or have already gone commercial. The cotton production sector in many countries, Zimbabwe included has suffered depressed yields due to unattractive buying prices, as well as higher production overheads.

. . . .

Sudan suffered the same fate as other cotton producing countries in Africa but found option in planting genetically modified cotton also known as BT cotton to ameliorate the situation. To date the country’s hectarage of rain-fed and irrigated cotton fields have tremendously increased as farmers get higher yields per hectare increasing their income from the crop.

This is an area on which Zimbabwe needs to carry extensive research to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the crop.

. . . .

In an experience sharing visit to BT cotton fields in Sudan arranged by COMESA for member countries, farmers interviewed said BT cotton gives a better yield than conventional cotton as it is not affected by bollworms, which are a menace to cotton production across Africa.

The farmers said since they embarked on BT Cotton, they had seen their yields double or even treble and this has changed positively their living standards. . . .

. . . .

COMESA biotechnology policy advisor Getachew Belay said there was need for countries to carry out research in BT cotton as this will assist them to understand the crop better.

. . . .

“. . .[T]here is need for political will as shown by the Sudanese government which has made a bold decision on the commercialisation of the crop and this has seen an increase in the production of BT cotton.”

Read full, original post: Call to adopt BT cotton production

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