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Cotton farmers to adopt Bt seeds
May '09
Long after countries like India and Pakistan adopted Bt cotton seeds, Kenya has now decided to adopt these genetically modified cotton seeds in a bid to increase productivity and in turn the production, said a senior official of the Cotton Development Authority (CDA).

The acting CEO of CDA, Mr Joshua Oluyali, said that Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI) is in the final stages of field trail of the Bt seeds after which the seeds would be available for distribution to the farmers of the country.

Adopting Bt cotton seeds is a part of the effort of the government to revive cotton production in the country after it collapsed in the late 80's. Cotton production which had touched 70,000 bales (1bale=170 kg) in 1986, touched a low of just 25,000 bales last year.

Bt cotton seeds have gained acceptance due to the fact that they do not need spraying of pesticides as well as deliver double the yield. Experts however contend that long use of Bt cotton seeds is harmful to the soil.

The CDA and KARI both will control distribution of cotton seeds to avoid sales of spurious seeds. According to KARI, the country has the potential to grow 260,000 bales of cotton, by increasing the area of cultivation from 30,450 hectares at present to 350,000 hectares.

Experts attribute the fall in cotton production in the country to the practice of cultivating recycled cotton seeds, which deliver low productivity and since Bt cotton seeds cannot be replanted, it is expected to eliminate this practice.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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