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Kenya to commercialize insect-resistant GMO Bt cotton later this year

Image: Tom Otieno/National Media Group
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The country’s textile industry is headed for a big boost after Genetically Modified cotton planting began locally.

A journey of more than 15 years of developing the BT cotton reached the last stage … as the National Performance Trials for the crop began in Kisumu County.

Horticultural Research Institute Director Charles Waturu presided over the first-ever open field planting of four varieties of seeds, ahead of the launch of commercial planting later in the year.

According to Dr Waturu, the planting came barely a year since the National Environment Management Authority approved the environment assessment of the crop for commercial use.

The commercial planting of the crop will be open to farmers in the next planting season, with western Kenya set to pioneer it.

Waturu … termed the planting of the seeds as a breakthrough in the textile industry, especially at a time when the Government has listed industrialisation among its Big Four development agenda.

“Kenya produces 20,000 bales of cotton every year against a demand of 140,000, meaning we have to import the deficit. But with BT cotton, which is high yielding and has high quality, we can produce up to 260,000 bales,” he said.

Read full, original post: Breakthrough for textile industry as BT cotton enters the market

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