Ethiopia comes closer to multiplying GMO cotton seeds.

December 3, 2021

JK Agri Genetics Ltd., based in India, is negotiating to deliver its patent and multiply Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds to Ethiopia in order to avoid the foreign currency shortage that forced the suspension of Bt Cotton seed imports. “An agreement is nearing completion, and the company plans to deliver Bt cotton technology to Ethiopia in a few months.” Mesele Mekuria, Cotton Development Director of the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute, said, “We have plans to use the seeds for the following cropping season” (ETIDI). According to Mesele, the Indian company plans to build a sister company in Ethiopia that will reproduce the technology on its own farm and sell the seeds to Ethiopian commercial farmers. This is partly because the corporation is fiercely protective of the Bt cotton technology patent. The Ethiopian Environment, Forest, and Climate Protection Commission approved Bt cotton after it was tested in constrained regions and approved by the Ethiopian Environment, Forest, and Climate Protection Commission. Two years ago, the Indian business provided seeds to commercial cotton farmers in Gambella. The farmers paid USD 28 for a kilogram of Bt cotton seed, excluding accessories. Despite this, neither the farmers nor the Ethiopian government was able to come up with the massive sums of money required to import the seeds. As a result, imports have been halted since last year. Ethiopia’s rigorous biodiversity rules were relaxed five years ago, with the exception of consumables. Ethiopia’s indigenous cotton types, which had been in use for three decades, failed to provide large yields. Bt cotton was chosen because it was shown to be resistant to ball warmth, which causes damage to the cotton plant as it prepares to bud. “Bt cotton is expensive, but its high productivity compensates for this. Only five kilograms of Bt cotton are required per hectare, compared to 20 kilograms if local types are planted. Bt cotton has a high germination rate that is recommended. “With the currency scarcity proving to be a problem, many commercial cotton producers prefer it,” Mesele remarked.

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