Kenyan scientists lobby for GMO Bt cotton approval to cut pesticide use

cottons

Mwea cotton farmers in Kirinyaga have expressed concern over the high cost of pesticides. They say they have to dig deeper into their pockets to be able to control the African bollworm and the mealybug. The high prices increase the cost of production and minimise returns, they say.

Many residents have relied on the crop for years. Back in the day, the crop did so well and farmers reaped big. This is not the case any longer. Their livelihoods are now at risk.

Researchers concur that cotton growing is turning out to be a nightmare …. Dr Charles Waturu, a lead scientist of GM cotton in Kenya, said the burden of controlling the bollworm cotton has become worsened by the reemergence of the mealybug pest.

Related article:  Post-Brexit UK likely to back crop gene editing, but won't abandon EU's strict GMO rules

He urged the government to commercialize the high-yielding Bt cotton so farmers can increase productivity and meet the demand. At the moment, farmers get one to 10 bolls from each cotton plant, while from the GM cotton, they can harvest a maximum of 35 bolls from one plant, Waturu said.

Dr martin Mwirigi of the Kalro Biotechnology Centre in Kabete said GM is the most tested technology in the world to ensure safety to both human and the environment.

Read full, original article: Kirinyaga cotton farmers grapple with high cost of pesticides

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