The National Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has established 100 farms set to help in carrying out a cotton farming demonstration as its push for BT cotton commercialization commences.
Counties falling in the Lake Region Economic Bloc will be given priority as their weather conditions favor BT cotton. Making the remarks, Agriculture CS Peter Munya added that all the stalled ginneries would be revived in a bid to revamp the textile industry.
Yesterday, CS Peter Munya flanked by Devolution CS EugeneLWamalwa launched the 1st BT cotton seeds in the country as part of the revitalization of Kenya’s cotton, textile, and apparel sector. Additionally, CS Munya launched the cotton hybrid seed, which is ready for planting this season.
BT cotton farming for commercial purposes was approved by the cabinet late last year with effect from March this year. It will boost the government’s Big Four Agenda, mostly the manufacturing sector.
Kenya joins other African countries such as Sudan, Egypt, South Africa, and Burkina Faso, which have commercialized growth of the GMO crop.
BT cotton is a cotton variety that has an in-built mechanism to protect itself from caterpillar pests, also commonly known as the bollworm.
The government’s move to bank on BT cotton will see over 50,000 jobs created and Sh20 billion generated in apparel export earnings per year.
Cotton production has remained very low due to numerous challenges in the country, key among them pests and low-quality seed.
The introduction of BT cotton will address some of these challenges as it produces a protein that is harmful to the digestive system of a caterpillar pest. In other words, it is an insect-resistant transgenic crop designed to combat the bollworm.