Kenya to test genetically-modified cotton in nine research stations

Cotton field (PHOTO: FILE)

NAIROBI, KENYA: You have 30 days to submit your comments on genetically-modified cotton trial on nine research stations in Kenya.

The National Environment Management Authority on Thursday issued a 30-day deadline for oral or written submission which will bar or allow Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Karlo) to proceed with trials in nine research stations across the country.  

Karlo is proposing to undertake national performance trials for bt-cotton at Mwea, Katumani,Kampi ya Mawe, Bura, Perkera, Kibos, Alupe, Kerio Valley and Matuga.

“We have received Environmental Impact Assesment Study report for national bt-cotton trials in nine station, we invite public to submit their comments within one month,” said Nema in advertisement sponsored by Karlo.

Bt-cotton is any variety of cotton, genetically enhanced with Bt-genes to protect it against caterpillar pests, especially the African bollworm, which is the most destructive pest in cotton crops.

Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a beneficial bacteria that occurs naturally in the soil. It has been used commercially for more than 30 years to control vegetable caterpillars through biochemical insecticides such as Dipel®, Xentari® and Thuricide®.

Kenya has a potential to produce 260,000 bales of cotton annually but currently, our production stands at 28,000, as we get about 572kg/hectare against a potential of 2,500kg/hectare.