Kenyan farmers could plant GMO insect-resistant Bt cotton by November, boosting $500 million textile industry

GM Cotton
Credit: Lominda Afedraru

Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Ms. Betty Maina said farmers should expect to plant Bt cotton by November 2020. Speaking during a science media café organized by OFAB Kenya, the CS said, there will be nothing to stop farmers from planting Bt cotton in the coming October – November short rains season.

“The Cabinet approval for commercialization of Bt cotton has already been given. In my mind, there is nothing to prevent farmers from planting Bt cotton. There is an environmental impact assessment (EIA) being undertaken by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), which will provide the final approval” she said.

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[In 2019], Kenya sold textile and apparel products worth about $500 million to the US market. Given the country relies on imported fabric and other raw materials, a huge chunk of the money was lost. “If 60% of the $500 million from textile and apparel products sold to the US market was the value of the fabric, then we sent away nearly $300 million worth of imported fabric and raw materials to producing countries, which could have been a benefit to Kenya, if this was localized” said the CS.

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