GM, insect-resistant, Bt maize offers Kenyan farmers chance to boost yields while cutting pesticide use, local soil scientist says

Wilhelm Mukhongo is a soil expert and works with the county government of Busia, [Kenya, in] the department of agriculture, and says Busia county is food insecure because of the lack of modern agricultural technologies, post-harvest losses, and poor seed variety choices, where farmers have toiled hard but limited yields. She notes that the Bt [corn] variety is poised to increase yields in the region.

In Kenya and Uganda for instance, statistics show that Bt Maize gives a positive and significant effect across varieties and trials with a 52 percent yield advantage over non-Bt maize.

Karanja observed that full adoption of the technology in Kenya could reduce the 400,000 tons of maize imported into the country to cover up the deficit lost to stem borer pests. This is equivalent to $90 million.

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Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a gene found naturally in the soil used as a biological pesticide to control insect pests damage on crops. In maize, the gene has the potential to control deadly stem borer and Fall armyworm. The Bt protein (gene) has been incorporated to offer such protection.

Against the misconceptions about GMOs, farmers from other parts of the world are enjoying the benefits of the technology and farmers… in the local communities of Kenya cannot afford to be left out.

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