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Tanzanian Minister suggests introduction of GM cotton
Apr '13
Mr. Maghembe
Mr. Maghembe
The Government of Tanzania understands the potential of genetically modified (GM) seeds in reviving the country’s cotton industry, Mr. Jumanne Maghembe, Minister for Water and Irrigation, has said.
Speaking at a recent Africa Green Revolution Forum event, Mr. Maghembe said introduction of GM seeds was one way to boost productivity and increase income of African farmers.
He urged scientists to undertake research to find out if the use of GM seeds was harmful to the environment and humans.
He said cotton is not a food crop and suggested that Tanzania should start using modern biotechnology to increase yields and help farmers earn more from their harvest.
In Tanzania, cotton is mostly grown by farmers owning small pieces of land and it is estimated that about two-fifths of the country’s population is either directly or indirectly depended on cotton.
In addition to lack of access to credit, Tanzanian farmers also struggle with low yields and poor seed quality. To combat the problem, the Ukiriguru Cotton Institute is planning to release a new UK MO8 variety seeds for 2013/14 season.
Since liberalization in 1994, Tanzanian cotton industry has changed dramatically and it has now become an important exporter of cotton.
At present, only one-fifths of the ginned cotton in Tanzania is bought by domestic textile industries and the rest is exported.
During last season, Tanzania earned about US$ 81.52 million in cotton exports.

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