Cotton farmers in Kenya have been urged to prepare for the approved genetically modified cotton hybrid seeds - Biotech cotton (BT cotton) - starting next year. According to Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, BT cotton produces more yields and is resistant to many diseases. In December last year, the government approved the commercial farming of BT cotton hybrids following the successful completion of field trials conducted over a period of five years. The commercial farming of BT cotton is expected to ensure farmers earn more from the crop through increased production. It will also boost the manufacturing pillar of the Big 4 Agenda where Kenya seeks to establish itself as a regional leader in textile and apparel production. Kenya has approximately 50,000 cotton farmers who are only able to produce 30,000 bales against a yearly demand of 368,000 bales. Adoption of BT cotton, which is resistant to the destructive African bollworm, is expected to boost productivity from the current estimate of 572 kg/ha to 2,500 kg/ha, and lower the cost of production by 40%. In 2018, biotech cotton was planted in 15 countries led by India, USA, China, Pakistan, and Brazil. Also read: Digital marketplace for the Africa’s fashion creators
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