Can insect-resistant GMO Bt corn help Kenya fight crop pests and climate change?

| | February 21, 2018
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Elizabeth Nduku, a smallholder maize farmer in [Kenya], is dejected. Her crop is worse off than the previous seasons.

This is because other than the usual drought that normally devastates the crops, a new threat has come into the picture: fall armyworm.

But there could be hope for these farmers after all.

[Murenga Mwimali, principal scientist and maize breeder at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization] said the organisation had already developed better seeds to counter the predatory worms and drought and is in the process of developing even more hardier and resilient crop seeds that could alleviate the challenges facing the farmers in the region.

He said climate changes bring along new problems to agriculture by providing conditions that are prime for these challenges to thrive hence strategies have to be put in place to help in battling the twin challenges alongside any emergent complications.

There are Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) genes that can control the fall armyworms, which if harnessed, could work well as a control strategy for the pest, according to the scientist.

[W]hile the country seems to be edging closer to approving genetically modified organisms, which could be handy in controlling the emergent farming adversities, they could essentially be the solution to stopping these challenges.

Read full, original post: Hope for farmers battling armyworm

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