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Wednesday,September 30,2020 16:25 PM

Uganda plants modified cotton in Kasese

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th December 2009 03:00 AM

UGANDAN scientists have planted genetically modified cotton (GMO), in a confined field trial in Kasese district, for research purposes.

UGANDAN scientists have planted genetically modified cotton (GMO), in a confined field trial in Kasese district, for research purposes.

By Vision Reporters

UGANDAN scientists have planted genetically modified cotton (GMO), in a confined field trial in Kasese district, for research purposes.

The cotton trial, which was planted in September, aims at testing the cotton’s resistance to bollworms and herbicide tolerance.

The head of cotton research in Uganda, Dr. Thomas Arekem, said bollworms and herbicides were a major constraint to cotton production in the country.

Arekem, also the director of National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute in Soroti, said after collecting enough data, all the plants will be uprooted and burnt.

He was speaking during a sensitisation workshop for Kasese district leaders and other stakeholders at Verina Gardens recently. The workshop was about genetically modified cotton research in the country.

The participants toured the cotton trial located at Mubuku Irrigation Scheme.

Areke said it would take between four to five years for farmers to plant the cotton if the trials were successful.

“Genetically modified cotton will be planted after the enabling legislation has been passed. We onltyhave a policy which was passed by the cabinet in April, 2008,” he said.

The head of the programme for biosafety systems in Uganda, Dr. Theresa Sengooba, said Uganda is targeting two varieties of genetically modified cotton.

These include the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), with a bacterium gene for tolerance to bollworm pests and the RR (Roundup Ready) cotton, with resistance to the roundup herbicide for the control of weeds.

Areke said if the trial succeeded, it would help Uganda reduce annual cotton losses totalling to 100,000 bales valued at $20m.

He believes that when GMO cotton is adopted, Uganda will achieve its target of producing more than 1 million cotton bales annually.

Uganda plants modified cotton in Kasese

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