The Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) has concluded trials for stem borer-resistant maize varieties that will potentially double the country’s maize yield while greatly reducing production costs in pesticide application.

The Kenyan government is now looking to commercialise the genetically modified Bacillus thuringiensis maize after a 10-year trial phase ran across the country.

It hopes this sets the country on course to becoming a net maize exporter by doubling its production potential as has been the case with countries that have already adopted the technology.

The stem borer pest which is the most widely distributed and injurious cereal insect causes annual maize yield losses of about 500,000 metric tonnes to farmers. This represents 13.5 per cent of the total maize produced.

“Kenya imports 0.5 million tonnes of maize annually, which is equivalent to the amount of maize lost to the stem borer pest every year,” explains Dr Stephen Mugo KALRO’s project consultant officer.

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