Crop Biotech Update

Cotton Farmers in Kenya Submit Petition to Lift GM Import Ban

February 11, 2015

Farmers from Eastern and Central Kenya counties of Embu, Kirinyaga, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Meru, Murang'a and Tharaka Nithi have written a communiqué to the Kenyan president demanding for Bt cotton seeds and calling for the lifting of the ban on GM food imports in Kenya.

In the petition to the president, farmers noted systematic failures in the cotton value chain, including pests and diseases as factors that have contributed to the collapse of the once vibrant cotton sector in the country. It also noted that farmers should reap from research efforts realized by the research on insect resistant cotton through the Bt cotton project of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).

The communiqué was read by a farmer representative, at the end of a one day county event of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB), Kenya Chapter, which was held at the Embu University College, in Embu County, Eastern Kenya.

The county event was organized by OFAB-Kenya in collaboration with ICOSEED (A local NGO working with cotton farmers based in Central Kenya) and Embu University College. The event was attended by over thirty farmers and ginners, county executives, the university personnel, the media, regulators and scientists.

For more details, contact Brigitte Bitta at bbitta@isaaa.org.