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Tanzania plans to grow Bt cotton by 2020
May '13
The East African country of Tanzania plans to start growing Bt cotton by 2020 once the Government aided research comes up with a solution to the existing red bollworm problem, Charles Kitwanga, Deputy Minister in the Vice President’s office, has said.
Replying to a question posed by a Member of Parliament on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr. Kitwanga said the research on Bt cotton is aimed at understanding the extent of the problem.
The current findings show that the spread of bollworm had been increasing every year, since the research began about three years ago, Tanzania Daily News reported quoting the Minister.
Mr. Kitwanga said the Government was preparing a strategy to start growing Bt Cotton in Tanzania, as it would have greater resistance to such worms and was also drought-resistant.
The research into Bt cotton will take between 6 and 8 years, he said. Once the research is complete, the Ministry will look into the possibility of allowing Bt cotton production in Chunya, Ruvuma and Mpanda districts of Tanzania.
In some regions, the Government had prohibited growing cotton in order to limit the spread of red bollworms to other cotton growing areas in the country.
Tanzania is currently learning from the experience of Burkina Faso, one of the first countries in Africa to approve genetically modified (GM) cotton.
During 2012-13 season, cotton production in Burkina Faso increased by 57.5 per cent compared to a year earlier due to an increase in use of GM crops.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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