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Kenyan scientists develop GM corn and cotton varieties


The varieties are awaiting the National Performance Trials before they can be released for field trials. Gypsophilla flower will follow soon.

Kenyan scientists have developed two crop varieties using the modern GM technology. These varieties are expected to be released soon.

Simon Gichuki of the Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Biotechnology Research Institute (BioRI) said that the maize and cotton varieties are already awaiting the National Performance Trials before they can be released for field trials. He further added that gypsophilla flower will follow soon.

According to a news source, “the products have been produced within the country by local scientists where risk assessment has been done in accordance with the law,” he said during an agricultural biotechnology sensitization workshop in Nairobi.     

Gichuki noted that genetically modified drought- and pest-resistant cassava, sorghum and sweet potato are due to be complete soon.

Julia Njagi, a biosafety officer at the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), revealed that the authority has approved 24 crop varieties for laboratory and greenhouse trials, 14 for Confined Field Trials (CFT) and three for environmental trials.

She added that the two varieties are pending approval and are at the laboratory and environmental release stages.

Research on Bt cotton was completed in 2002-2012 and approved by NBA for National Performance Trials (NPT) by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

Insect-resistant and drought-tolerant maize variety has also been approved and is undergoing NPT by KEPHIS experts. 


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