7 November 2017

Kenya: Leaders Told to Support Biotech Crops Programmes

A government forum to deliberate on faster adoption of genetically modified technologies has called on political leaders to drive the agenda to enhance food production.

The forum heard that political goodwill was necessary if Kenyans was to take up GM farming technologies.

"Political leaders must show goodwill and lead the course towards adoption and commercialisation of GM technologies for the benefit of starving Kenyans," a participant said.

ISAAA senior programme officer Faith Nguthi, said information on benefits of scientifically proven technologies should be regularly communicated through different forums to enable Kenyans defend adoption of high yielding scientifically developed varieties.

The forum convened in Embu sought to prepare government officials from the Agriculture and Industry ministries ahead of the release of BT Cotton seeds to farmers for commercial propagation.

BT Cotton, which has undergone thorough tests over the past decade, is resistant to bollworms, enabling the crop to post higher yields than conventional cotton varieties.

Bt Cotton principal researcher Charles Waturu said the Bollgard I® and Bollgard II® cotton varieties were successfully tested, where they effectively controlled the populations of African bollworm and had no significant effect on non-target pest species.

"Growing BT cotton will significantly reduce the quantity of insecticides used by Kenyan farmers, from 12 to about three sprays per season, thus reducing the cost of production and increasing income from cotton farming," he said.

Kenya currently produces approximately 25,000 bales of cotton, being 10.4 per cent of the country's potential once BT cotton is commercialised.

Other crops under development include cow peas, yams, sweet potatoes and maize. They have all shown resilience during farm trials.

The forum heard that issuance of caveats during trials serves to stifle innovation, adding that such drastic measures should be taken only if the resultant crops prove harmful.

Kenya

More Deaths Ahead of Landmark Election Verdict

At least four people were killed and a Nairobi Member of Parliament shot as tensions heightened in the Kenyan capital… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.