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Eswatini, Ethiopia approve Bt cotton for cultivation
Jul '18
Two more member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa — Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly called Swaziland, and Ethiopia — have received green signal from their governments to start cultivation of insect-resistant transgenic Bt cotton. They will join Sudan, a COMESA member state, that initiated commercialization of Bt cotton in 2012.

Four African countries — Burkina Faso, Egypt, Sudan and South Africa — had to date commercialized Bt cotton, according to information on COMESA secretariat website.

The Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA) and the Ethiopian ministry of environment, forest and climate change granted the approvals in May and June respectively.

Ethiopia has also granted a five-year special permit for confined field trials of drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize varieties.

COMESA, through its specialized agency, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) supported both Eswatini and Ethiopia in biotechnology and biosafety policy formulations.

Research trials on transgenic maize, banana, cassava, cowpea, enset and potato are under way in other COMESA member states like Malawi, Kenya, Egypt and Uganda. (DS)

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