Farming of BT cotton in Kenya is set to continue following Thursday
approval by the cabinet.
The crop pilot farming was conducted in the country for a
period of five years, proving successful following increased production.
“The commercial farming of BT cotton is set to ensure
farmers earn more from the crop through increased production,” read part of a
twit from state house Kenya.
Bt-Cotton is a variety that is genetically modified using
genes from a soil dwelling bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
These help the plant to resist attack by caterpillar pests,
particularly the African bollworm.
According to research done by Kenya Agricultural &
Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), old and mixed cotton varieties used by
farmers are less viable, yielding minimal returns, a move that prompted BT-Cotton
The research institution disclosed that the annual national
demand for lint stands at 140,000 bales while current production is just about
20,000 bales, which calls upon farmers to shift to BT.
In the pilot study, four hybrids of Bt-Cotton from an Indian
Company, Mahyco, were evaluated alongside their isoclines and the two local
varieties, KSA 81M and HART 89M.
The commercialization of Bt-Cotton hybrids will greatly
contribute to the Big Four Agenda, and this will be realized by increased
cotton productivity which will enhance growth in the textile industry.