The government has been beseeched to urgently lift the ban on Bacteria Thurensis (BT) cotton technology so as to increase efficiency and yield cotton growing counties.
Speaking during a Governors’ brief on the state of food security at a hotel in Nairobi on Thursdaykisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, said BT technology will see less environmentally hazardous pesticides needed to curb the ball worm and weed infestation.
The previous government had banned importation of BT cotton technology until a taskforce that was created gave their findings on its safety. The report by the taskforce is expected to be released by the end of the week.
He says according to research, the crop goes from being sprayed 12 times to just three, thus decreasing farming expenses and producing better yields of cotton.
He added the time for use of such technology had come especially with apparel companies looking to invest in Kenya’s EPZ and the high demand for cotton required will need to be met.
“We need to commercialize BT cotton as a country; we can increase employment in all the cotton belt areas.”
“With the existence of those now more than 20 apparel companies and there are still more who are interested from Europe to produce here we can create employment for our people, we will grow as a nation but to commercialize there is need to lift the ban.”
The Kenya Agricultural research institute (KARI) has already given the green light on the safety of the technology.
South Africa, Burkina Faso and Sudan are among the African countries that have already embraced the technology.
He went on and said: “Reduction of pesticide sprays, is connected with health and environment, reduction of use in water so you need little water to get the yield that is so much for you to grow and the cost has gone down.”
Use of BT cotton will also see a reduction in labour for the farmer, so their time is released to partake in other economically valuable activities.
Other benefits include the manufacturing of oil, cotton and seed care.
The population in Kenya has been on the rise and the change in climate is causing fewer yields to be harvested and the threat of famine is now a day-to-day reality.
Genetically modifying crops have been adapted in most parts of the world as the answer to faster and healthier yields, and the profit reports are alarmingly impressive.