Kenyan policy makers have promised to fast-track Bt cotton growing in the country. This is after participating in a study tour of India’s Bt cotton program from September 17-22, 2018, together with other senior government officials from various regulatory agencies and cotton value chain players.
India‘s cotton sub-sector actors led by Dr. P. G. Patil, Director of the Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT), showcased how Bt cotton can drive industrialization of a country with enormous social-economic benefits to citizens. Every part of the cotton crop is used to produce lint, cotton seed oil, cotton cake, paper, or briquettes. With over 12 million hectares under Bt cotton and representing 98% of land under cotton cultivation, India has become the largest producer of cotton globally, just fifteen years after its commercialization.
A visit to farmers’ field in Aurangabad and Telangana districts of India showed the actual benefits of Bt cotton. After listening to farmers proudly narrating the social-economic impacts of growing Bt cotton, the Agriculture Committee Chair of Parliament, Hon. Adan Haji, pleaded with those spreading misinformation about Bt technology in Kenya to stop. “There is no known scientific negative impact of embracing GMOs so far and as parliamentarians, we will inform concerned parties and the Executive that the market is ready and stakeholders are willing to invest,” said Hon. Haji.
The high-level Kenya government delegation was part of an exchange and outreach program under the India-Africa Agriculture Engagement, supported by the Kenya Government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives in partnership with ISAAA AfriCenter, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC).