GMO cotton trials impress Kenyan delegation

A Kenyan delegation last week said it was impressed with Malawi’s Genetically Modified (GMO) cotton trial project at Ngabu Agricultural Research Station in Chikwawa.

The delegation, comprising board chairperson of various regulatory agencies, the private sector and farmers, toured the research station to see how Malawi succeeded in carrying out GMO cotton variety trials.

Members of the Kenyan delegation touring a cotton field

Leader of delegation, Margaret Karembu, said she and her team came to learn from Malawi’s experience.

“When we go back to Kenya, we will use this experience to make decisions at national level on doing the same as Malawi. The trials I have seen today are very impressive.

“There is a big difference between biotech cotton and conventional cotton in terms of high yield and resistance to bore worm attacks. We will convince our government to adopt this biotech cotton variety from Malawi,” she said.

On his part, National Environment Management (Nema) chairperson John Konchellah hailed Malawian researchers for doing a good job which can be appreciated by people without scientific knowledge.

“I came to Malawi to establish the impact of research science on productivity of cotton and I am happy and satisfied with what I have seen. Let Africa learn from this technology to enhance efficiency in cotton production.” 

In his remarks, Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) senior biotechnology adviser Getachew Belay said he wished other African countries came to Malawi to learn from the trials.

“This is perfect designing and experimentation. I want countries like Ethiopia and Swaziland to come here and learn,” he said.

Speaking to The Nation, Thomson Chilanga, deputy director of agricultural research services, said that the delegation had come to see the performance of biotech cotton varieties so that they can implement the same in their country. n

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