Kenya: Kenyan government projects 50,000 jobs if drought and pest-resistant GMO cotton approved

President Uhuru Kenyatta [of Kenya] is betting on mass production of genetically modified cotton to create 50,000 jobs and generate Sh20 billion [$195.6 million USD] in apparel export earnings this year as part of his final term economic revival plan.The plan, which includes policy review and crafting of new incentive schemes, is also expected to generate 10,000 jobs in the apparel sector.

In a draft Budgetary Policy Statement (BPS) seen by the Business Daily, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich says the plan will start with the training of 50,000 youth and women to engage in biotechnology (BT) cotton production.By the end of 2018, the State expects to have expanded acreage under cotton to 200,000 hectares, up from 29,000 currently.BT cotton is resistant to drought and pests. While genetically modified plants are generally banned in Kenya, the National Biosafety Authority gave a nod to open field trials of BT cotton last year.

The fact that the government is banking on it to rev up manufacturing sector implies the State may soon approve its open cultivation.Underperformance of the cotton industry has exposed Kenya to the volatility of the international market as it has to import nearly every textile product for consumption and export generation, official data indicates.

Source: Standard Digital, Kenya
Saturday, 27 January 2018

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