By Nita Karume :
Agricultural experts in Kenya are presently pushing for the implementation of genetically modified seeds by the government. This, according to them, will help towards the control of the fall army worm that has been plaguing maize production in the country. Farmers and researchers, under the sponsorship of Cereals Growers Association (CGA), said the fall army worm threatens to destroy 70% of projected harvests.
Mr. James Njiru, a senior research officer with CGA claims that there is evidence subjecting the army worm to laboratory procedures of engineering seeds. This, he alleges, is with a view to create a thriving market for pesticides. He goes on to add that unfortunately no manufacturer has been able to access an effective pesticide. This is due to the fact that any viable solution must be under trial for at least three seasons.
This is where the GMO initiative comes in, since according to him, the variety will be having an inbuilt guard against such attacks by specific pesticides. Mr. Njiru further added that said trials for GMO maize varieties have been successful in Uganda. Moreover, they have since transformed the country into a mass exporter of maize. Meanwhile, Kenya continues to struggle with acute shortages.
However, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has since disputed such science to be the solution to the armyworm pest. Kiunjuri argues that according to his knowledge from interaction with European countries, the fall army worm cannot be neutered by use of any known pesticide so far in the market. This, he says, is also in supporting documented evidence,
This comes as Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria launches a program to distribute to his maize farmers free pesticides that he claims to have the ability to fight the worm. On the other hand, none has posted scientifically plausible results.