After many years of waiting, Kenya has finally commenced commercial farming of Bt cotton heralding a new dawn for cotton farmers in the country. On Monday, the country planted its first Bt cotton seed on a commercial scale in a historic launch held at Alupe University, western Kenya. The country now becomes the seventh African country to commercialize the genetically modified (GM) cotton.
The planting 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 in the country. This latest development follows a Cabinet approval for commercial farming of Bt cotton granted on December 19, 2019.
Speaking during the launch, Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya revealed that the Government targets to have over 200,000 acres under commercial Bt cotton cultivation by 2022 creating over 25,000 jobs for Kenyans along the value chain. “These job opportunities will be in cultivation, processing or trading in locally manufactured garments and clothes,” said the CS.
“Cultivation of Bt cotton by our farmers will guarantee a constant supply of raw materials to ginneries and cotton processing industries thus supporting value addition and job creation up the value chain,” he added.