The Cotton Development Trust (CDT) has said Malawi would save K4 billion and boost yield if it embraces genetically-modified (GM) cotton.
CDT vice-chairperson Duncan Warren said this at a sensitisation workshop for Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) technicians.
Currently, Luanar is conducting confined trials on the performance of GM cotton which Warren is optimistic will greatly boost cotton production.
He said GM cotton does not need a lot of pesticides and as such, Malawi will save about K4 billion normally spent on them.
Warren said cotton yield has over the years been declining; hence, efforts to introduce GM cotton.
“GM cotton will improve cotton yield, lint quality, help in pest management as well as reduce environmental and human poisoning risks.
“For some time, we have been importing seed from Zambia and Zimbabwe and this is costly. But if the GM technology is embraced, Malawi will save a lot of money and improve its agriculture sector,” he said.
Bunda College vice-principal Charles Masangano said the confined field trials will help Malawi know the yield potential of GM cotton.
“Our neighbouring countries have already adopted GM crops and we cannot develop this country if we remain behind.
“Biotech advancement is the most talked about subject all over the world and Malawi needs to take the technology to its farmers,” said Masangano.
Government approved the trial of GM cotton in 2012, three years after the college applied for a licence to conduct the exercise.