Kenya fails to exploit US cotton market

Business Daily Kenya:  Kenya is among states in Africa that stand to miss out on an opportunity to export cotton to the United States as pr...

Business Daily Kenya: 

A farmer harvests cotton. Photo/COURTESY

Kenya is among states in Africa that stand to miss out on an opportunity to export cotton to the United States as prescribed under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Biotechnology advocates say that most African states will not be able to take advantage of the Agoa extension offer in regard to cotton. Sufficient cotton for export and local use can only be attained if the continent adopts biotechnology.

Experts argue adoption of the technology to produce Bt cotton, while not the only solution, is one that can help the continent produce sufficient cotton and assist revive the collapsed cotton industry in a number of states in Africa.

“The extension was meant to offer an opportunity to cotton producers to tap into that market. The continent produces about 20 per cent of the total needed,” says the centre director of the Nairobi-based International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) AfriCentre, Margaret Karembu.

During the virtual launch of the Annual Report on Global Commercialisation of Biotech crops 2016, Kalembu said fabric maker Rivatex does not meet local cotton needs.

“It’s unfortunate we lose much needed foreign exchange to neighbouring countries through cotton importation from Uganda and Tanzania. The Export Processing Zone has to import cotton from India- a leader in bt cotton production.”

Burkina Faso farmers reap socio-economic benefits and increased yield per unit area compared to conventional cotton by growing Bt cotton. This has in turn led to significant reduction in pests and reduced use of water.

Kenya’s principal Bt cotton researcher and head of Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)-Thika, Charles Waturu says although Bt cotton trials have been completed in Kenya, commercialisation cannot take place unless the rules and regulations have been gazetted by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), a process that is lengthy and tedious.

The post Kenya fails to exploit US cotton market appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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