Revamped regulations could accelerate Kenya’s GM, insect-resistant, Bt cotton approval

Credit: Kohan Textile Journal
Credit: Kohan Textile Journal

Radical reforms in Kenya’s agricultural sector are set to inject fresh impetus to Bt cotton farming in the country, should a fibre crops legislative Bill pass into law. The Government shall be mandated to promote and market fibre crops and products locally and internationally, a development that will invigorate Bt cotton production.

The Bill, technically referred to as Fibre Crops Development Authority Bill, seeks to provide for the development, regulation, and promotion of cotton and sisal industries. This is expected to introduce focus and clarity in the management of the cotton value-chain as the Government banks on Bt cotton to revitalize the textile and apparel industry by increasing the crop production from the current 20,000 bales to 200,000 bales by 2022. 

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Kenya is currently rolling out commercial farming of Bt cotton with farmers in cotton-growing counties in eastern and western Kenya having already planted the GM crop. During the 2020’s October-November season, farmers in ten cotton-growing counties in the eastern region planted 16.3 metric tons of Bt cotton on 10,000 acres (4,047 hectares). 

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