Kakamega – KEPHIS joined KALRO and other stakeholders in sensitizing religious leaders and farmers on transgenic maize varieties that are resistant to the African Stem Borer and also show partial resistance to the Fall Armyworm.
This has followed approval by the National Environment Management Authority(NEMA) to proceed with the inclusion of the maize varieties into the National Performance Trials(NPTs). KEPHIS will conduct NPTs on the crop for two seasons.
Currently, Kenya faces deficits of maize due to frequent droughts and damage by pests and diseases. Of the total maize yield, 15% - 20% damage is attributed to the stem borer and 30%-60% to the fall armyworm; however, with Bt technology, there will be increased yields and reduced pesticide use leading to increased economic benefits to farmers in the country. This will in turn lead to increased food availability as maize is Kenya’s most important food crop.
The trial sites will also be used to create awareness, educate the public and stakeholders, demystify the myth as well as share information that pertains to hybrids and management of the GM technology.
KEPHIS MD Prof. Theophilius Mutui reiterated the importance of National Performance Trials as they are done to ascertain the best agro-ecological zones to grow various kinds of crops.