Researchers urge government to adopt genetically modified seeds to fight armyworm
The tragedy is that no manufacturer has laid their hands on an effective pesticide since any viable solution must be under trial for at least three seasons, says Njiru.
At a workshop in Murang’a County, farmers, and researchers, under Cereals Growers Association (CGA), said maize is under serious threat from the pest, which threatens to destroy 70 percent of projected harvests.
Mr. James Njiru, a senior research officer with CGA said that there is evidence attributing the armyworm to laboratory procedures of engineering seeds and where the mischief is to create a thriving market for pesticides.
“It is apparent that this worm has been introduced into maize seeds deliberately by international seed dealers in conjunction with some local dealers to create a market for pesticides from the same dealers,” he said.
He said the tragedy is that no manufacturer has laid their hands on an effective pesticide since any viable solution must be under trial for at least three seasons.
Mr. Njiru asked the government to adopt genetically modified seeds “where we can easily introduce into the market a variety that has an inbuilt guard against such attacks by specific pesticides”.
He said trials for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) maize varieties have been successful in Uganda and today have transformed the country into a mass exporter of maize as Kenya grapples with acute shortages.
Water Efficient Maize for Africa is carrying out maize trials in Kasese, Uganda and has so far announced that the genetically modified variety is armyworm resistant.
Pressure is on the Kenyan government to embrace genetically modified seeds engineering to ward off threats presented by the invasion of pesticide-resistant pests and diseases.