Comesa states in study tour of In­dia biotech cot­ton

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business -

DEL­E­GATES from five Comesa States that grow cot­ton have com­pleted a one week ex­pe­ri­ence-shar­ing and learning tour of biotech­nol­ogy cot­ton farm­ing, reg­u­la­tion and com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion in In­dia.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Swazi­land and Zam­bia par­tic­i­pated in the study tour, which com­prised Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, bio-safety reg­u­la­tors, re­searchers and jour­nal­ists.

The study tour is one of the strate­gic ob­jec­tives of Comesa Biotech­nol­ogy and Bio-safety Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan (COMBIP) to sup­port ex­pe­ri­ence-shar­ing through peer-learning plat­forms within Comesa mem­ber States and be­yond.

“The study tour was in­tended to equip key stake­hold­ers from mem­ber States with knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence to bet­ter un­der­stand biotech­nol­ogy for in­formed de­ci­sion-mak­ing,” Dr Ge­tachew Be­lay, the Se­nior Biotech­nol­ogy Pol­icy Ad­vi­sor at the Comesa Al­liance for Com­mod­ity Trade in Eastern and South­ern Africa (ACTESA) said.

The tour was jointly or­gan­ised by the South Asia Biotech­nol­ogy Cen­tre (SABC), the In­ter­na­tional Ser­vice for the Ac­qui­si­tion of Agri-Biotech Ap­pli­ca­tions (ISAAA, AfriCen­tre), and COMESA-ACTESA in an ini­tia­tive dubbed “see­ing-is-be­liev­ing.”

Founder di­rec­tor of South Asia Biotech­nol­ogy Cen­tre Mr Bha­gi­rath Choud­hary, who co­or­di­nated the tour, said the ini­tia­tive was in­tended to show­case suc­cess­ful case stud­ies thus cre­at­ing a team of ded­i­cated cham­pi­ons in sup­port of the tech­nol­ogy.

“This ini­tia­tive will help build the nec­es­sary con­fi­dence among the African stake­hold­ers on reg­u­la­tory and com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion pro­cesses, bio-safety com­mu­ni­ca­tions and trade is­sues of biotech crops,” he said.

In the Comesa re­gion, Su­dan is the only State that has fully em­braced biotech and com­mer­cialised the crop with over 100 000 acres cur­rently un­der Bt-cot­ton cul­ti­va­tion. Other States such as Kenya, Swazi­land, Uganda, Malawi and Ethiopia are at the Green House to Con­fined Field trial stages for the cot­ton and other crops.

In­dia was cho­sen ow­ing to its long ex­pe­ri­ence of over 14 years of cul­ti­va­tion of Bt-cot­ton (named af­ter the bac­te­ria from where the in­sect re­sis­tance gene, Bacil­lus thuringien­sis was ob­tained) with an adoption rate of 95 per­cent.

Last year In­dia grew 12 mil­lion hectares of Bt­cot­ton and has ben­e­fit­ted by an en­hanced in­come of $16,7 bil­lion in the twelve year pe­riod 2002-2013. — BH24

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.