The research, which formed part of CSIR-SARI’s Cotton Improvement Programme, is being undertaking in collaboration with relevant stakeholders such as the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) (through the functioning of the Institutional Biosafety Committee), Ministry of Food and Agriculture amongst other regulatory bodies.
As part of the processes and research protocols, CSIR-SARI organized an open field day for cotton farmers and stakeholders to visit the research field at Nyankpala, near Tamale to observe and share their views about the technology.
Dr Emmanuel Chamba, Principal Investigator at CSIR-SARI, who is the Lead Researcher on the programme, said the research being undertaken was “to determine the efficacy of two glyphosate formulations (herbicides) on weeds when applied on genetically modified (GM) cotton varieties and also assess the selectivity (dose range) of two formulations of glyphosate on the cotton varieties”.
Dr Chamba said the research was being undertaking to draw conclusions on the performance of the herbicides on GM cotton varieties being cultivated in the country, which included BT cotton and Roundup Ready cotton.
Weed is a major constraint to cotton production in that it reduces seed cotton yields, lint quality and farmer income.
Manual hand weeding has been the predominant weed control practice but several constraints including limited resources, unavailability of labour especially at peak seasons among others, limit the effective use of the dominant practice in weed control method hence the research to come out with a herbicide to effectively control weeds on cotton farms in the country.
Mr Eric Okoree, Acting Chief Executive Officer of NBA, said the Authority would continue to monitor and regulate biotechnology research in a manner that would promote biodiversity conversation and maximize benefit to farmers, stakeholders and the country.
Mr Okoree commended CSIR-SARI for organizing the open farmer field day saying it formed part of the requirements in undertaking trials on GM crops in the country.
Mr Tony Akpene Klu, Communication Manager at CSIR-SARI, said biotechnology research was crucial for the country’s agricultural revolution expressing hope that this and many other researches being undertaken at CSIR-SARI would become relevant to farmers and stakeholders in the cotton industry.
Mr Klu said CSIR-SARI’s continued commitment in undertaking relevant research activities based on approved and appropriate national regulatory framework would enhance and sustain agricultural production in the country.