A biotech cotton expert Professor Walter Al Hassan says once Malawi farmers start growing genetically-modified (GM) cotton, there is need to sensitise them to follow proper guidelines if the crop is to produce high yields.
Al Hassan, who is also project coordinator for the Strengthening Access in Bio Technology Management (Sabima) in sub-Saharan Africa, said awareness is critical if farmers are to harvest quality cotton.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a confined field trial and stewardship briefing for deans and heads of departments at Bunda College, a constituent college of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar), on Saturday.
“GM cotton can help the country double its produce with relative ease only if farmers are given proper messages on field preparation, planting procedures as well as chemical application. Sometimes farmers deliberately fail to apply chemicals because they are using GM seeds,” said Al Hassan.
Professor Moses Kwapata, who is also taking a leading role in the GM cotton trials stewardship at Luanar, said the BT cotton is looking impressive in the field when compared to the conventional type.