Kenya plans to commercialize the growing of Bt Cotton in October which coincides with the short rain season, a government official said on Wednesday.
Anne Nyaga, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives told journalists in Nairobi that already about one ton of genetically modified cotton seeds have been distributed to establish 720 demonstration sites during the long rains that occur between March and April.
“The demonstration sites will be used for teaching farmers and extension service providers from all over the country so that full commercialization is done from October,” Nyaga said when she distributed 16 tons of non-Bt hybrid Cotton seeds to 11 counties.
She said that the introduction of transgenic cotton seeds is part of government plans to revive the cotton sector that has declined since its peak in the 1980s.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, cotton can potentially be grown in 24 counties in arid and semi-arid areas.
Nyaga revealed that a number of interventions have been put in place to increase cotton production by 2020.
Nyaga said that Kenya is prioritizing the revival of the cash crop because it has the potential to employ some 1.5 million people under the cotton textile and clothing value chain.
“Income earnings to growers will contribute to poverty reduction, especially in arid and semi-arid lands. Cotton also offers the raw material for local textile and apparel industries to manufacture for export, and contribute to foreign exchange earnings,” she said. Enditem