After several years of research, Kenya has finally started field trials of genetically modified maize. The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) began planting the maize modified to resist stem borers, which cause 20 per cent crop loss to farmers every year.
"We are pleased to announce the field trials of the GM maize after five years of laboratory research, as part of an innovative approach to help local farmers minimize the devastating effects of stem borers," said KARI Director Romano Kiome.
Speaking during the farm planting at KARI Kiboko Center, about 20 km south east of Nairobi, Dr. Stephen Muga, a CIMMYT plant breeder, said that if the trials are successful, the eventual introduction of GM maize would help increase farmers’ income and contribute to less dependence on maize imports.
Kenya produced 2,142,000 tons of maize last year, imported 241,800 tons at a cost of 4.6 billion shillings ($60 million), and lost 400,000 tons to stock borer, according to government official figures.
News provided by Daniel Otunge (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Kenya Biotechnology Centre and the African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum.