Biotech Updates

Swaziland Approves Importation and Environmental Release of Bt Cotton

May 16, 2018

Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA) has granted two landmark approvals for importation of Bt cotton seed and environmental release of the crop making the Kingdom of eSwatini the latest African country to adopt Bt cotton. In accordance with Biosafety Act, SEA granted approval to the Swaziland Cotton Board (SCB) to import 3,000 kilogrammes of GM cotton seed for commercial release. The Board will import the seed from JK Agri-Genetics Limited, an Indian-based seed company. 

The authority stated that the approval is subject to export and transit permits, which should be sought by the applicant or supplier. "The applicant and transporter should take full responsibility for the load in transit, and should be aware of the Emergency Response Measures of GMO consignments," read part of the approval notice. SEA also requires the cotton board to adhere to the requirements for conveyor shipment as dictated in Article 7 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on the Advance Informed Agreement procedure. 

On environmental release, SEA reveals: "In accordance with the Biosafety Act, 2012 and its Draft Regulations, approval is granted to Swaziland Cotton Board to intentionally introduce genetically modified cotton with Bacillus thuringeinsis gene to be grown in Swaziland." The approvals were signed by the authority's Acting Executive Director, Ishmael Ndwandwe. 

In November 2016, SEA okayed SCB to undertake confined field trials for the GM crop. Cotton industry has been one of the leading industries driving Swaziland's economy. However, production has been dwindling owing to insect attack, key among them the bollworm. 

For more on this, contact Swaziland Cotton Board at