Swaziland and Ethiopia joined other member states of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) cotton after receiving the go signal from environmental agencies.
Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change approved the commercialization of the insect-resistant Bt cotton in May and June respectively, following Sudan that started in 2012. This totals to six countries in Africa adopting biotechnology namely Burkina Faso, Egypt, Sudan, and South Africa.
The varieties of the Bt crop authorized are (JKCH 1050) in Eswatini and two varieties in Ethiopia which are (JKCH 1050 and JKCH 1047), hybrid types which are also cultivated in Sudan. The Ethiopian environmental agency also awarded a five-year special permit for confined field trials for drought tolerance and insect resistance maize varieties (Water Efficient Maize for Africa).
See full story in East African Business Week.