GMO cotton trials get underway

Genetically modified cotton

The Government has begun nationwide trials for the production of genetically modified cotton.

Speaking at the 34th Annual Seminar of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya in Mombasa yesterday, Devolution and Asal Principal Secretary Micah Powon said trials were going on in secluded areas in four regions across the country.

Mr Powon said mass production of genetically modified or biotechnology (BT) cotton would boost crop output by up to eight times from the current production of 30,000 bales each year. It is hoped that this will be enough to revive the long-suffering local textile industry.

“BT cotton resists pests like bollworms. We have started the trials so we can get the best varieties for the Coast, Eastern, North-Eastern and Lake regions," said Powon. "We will soon roll out BT and hybrid cotton varieties production after the legislative policy is ready."

He said countries that had adopted BT cotton like India and China had raised farm incomes.