Bt Cotton Farming in Africa

Bt Cotton Farming in Africa

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The Horticultural Research Institute in Thika, Kenya will release a genetically-modified cotton variety with high resistance to prevent boll worm infestation to farmers in Kenya. The high-yielding, drought-resistant Bt cotton, which is being cultivated in Burkina Faso and South Africa.

The variety will initially be released to farmers in dry irrigation areas of the coastal region for seed breeding purpose. The pilot project is scheduled to be rolled out to all other cotton-producing counties in Africa.

This new transgenic variety requires two sprays of pesticides compared to the fifteen required for the traditional one. Due to the high reproduction rate of the boll worm and self-protection mechanism, its chemical control was difficult and many farmers abandoned cotton farming in the past. To encourage cotton farmers the government has already established a task force that is working towards the expected release of the Bt cotton seed to the farmers by 2019.

Another benefit worth mentioning is that the transgenic cotton variety also attracted honey bees during the flowering stage, which offered quality honey to the farmers.