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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenyan farmers gear up for biotech crops to boost yields

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan farmers are gearing up for the commercialization of biotech crops in order to boost yields, officials said on Monday.

Daniel Magondu, chairman of the Society for Biotech Farmers of Kenya (SOBIFAK), said in Nairobi that productivity in key crops such as cotton and maize is declining due to challenges such as destruction by pests.

“We are eagerly waiting for commercialization of biotech crops that are pest and drought resistant in order to boost farmers’ productivity,” Magondu said.

According to the ministry of agriculture, trials are currently ongoing for so-called Bt cotton, which could be available to farmers in 2020. Biotech research is also underway for maize, cassava and sorghum varieties. 

Magondu said a rapidly expanding population, coupled with dwindling land sizes for agriculture, requires that Kenya explores opportunities provided by science, technology and innovations to boost output.

Technology-based, climate-smart agriculture could not only benefit small-scale farmers but the overall economy as a whole, he said.

Murenga Mwimali, principal investigator for biotech maize in Kenya, noted that transgenic drought-tolerant maize could boost output by over 30 percent as compared to current yields.

He said Bt maize could transform Kenya from a maize importer to a surplus producer.

           

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