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BT cotton price too high, company evasive farmers complain

The commercialization of BT cotton has not materialized yet because of the high selling price offered by Indian company, JK Agri Genetics which received approval from the Ethiopian government to sell the seeds. The company which offered USD 30 for a kilo of the BT seeds did not receive permission from the Ethiopian Cotton Producers Exporters and Ginners Association (ECPGEA). Hadsuh Girmay, ECPGEA vice president told Capital that JK’s price is not affordable to the majority of cotton producers.
“We buy a kilogram of cotton at less than two USD on the local market and JK has now told us that the price for one kilogram of BT cotton is USD 30 which is very expensive and does not take into account our capacity. We are also concerned about the effectiveness of the BT cotton, although the JK seeds fight ballworm we are hearing from farmers in Sudan that JK’s seed is not fighting the sack pests that live in the cotton.”
JK’s people have not explained these issues adequately and have not shown us what the cotton farms that are using their product look like.”
“Hadsuh Girmay who is a cotton producer also said he is not willing to plant the Bt cotton unless  clear results are shown from the company.
The Betty Cotton that was planted in six parts of the country last July 2016 passed six field trial tests and have brought about promising results. The cotton was expected to be on the market last year.
The confined field trails which were conducted at farms in Asayta, Dufti, Wiyeto, Amorati, Pawe and Kemashe included insect and drought resisting cotton and the quality and the yielding  also  brought about good results. The trials were conducted under the terms and conditions set by the various governmental regulatory bodies and the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute leading the experiment.
BT cotton is a transgenic species of cotton in which the beneficial genes of bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (especially those resistant to Bill Worm complex pest of the cotton are incorporated into the genome of cultivated cotton through genetic engineering.
In Ethiopia, the expansion of the textile manufacturing sector has seen an increasing demand for cotton. Furthermore, the introduction of industrial parks in the manufacturing sector is expected to push the increase in the supply of cotton production.
However, there is still a huge concern and criticism against BT Cotton from the environmental and consumers rights groups and against biotech industry in general. Even in India despite measurable outcomes and implementations of the biotech crops and other products, the country still faces stern oppositions from the wider rages of rights groups. At some point, the supreme court of India has been involved in the litigations of a case with regards to implementations of biotech engineering activities that involved Mustard.
Similarly, Ethiopian activists have never been shy about their anti-genetic engineering stance and its purported dangers to the country. The environmental, health hazards, toxicity and allergy and to some extent cancer and the likes are some of the repercussions the anti-GMO groups have been actively echoing.


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