GM Cotton is Economical than Conventional Cotton- Economist
By: Philip Tengzu
An economist at the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), Dr. Iddrisu Yahaya, has indicated that growing Bt cotton is cost effective as compared to the conventional cotton variety.
He explained that the cost of cotton production was from the pesticides the farmer buys for spraying the fields and said Bt cotton was pest resistant with minimal number of spraying were required.
Speaking in an interview with Mak News in Wa, Dr. Yahaya noted that in addition to its ability to reduce cost of production to help improve the economic gains of farmers, Bt cotton also had the potential of reducing the health risk of farmers as limited spraying was required.
He said regular spraying of crops with chemicals without the proper protection posed the farmer to health hazards as the farmer absorbs the chemicals into his or her system through breathing and the skin pores.
He, however, called for extensive experiment into the GM cotton in order to ascertain its possible impact on the Ghanaian soil.
“What we need in Ghana is to experiment, even though there are some experiments going on but they are not long term so we need a long term experiment to ascertain the effects of Bt cotton especially on the soil before we can now think of adopting Bt in Ghana.
Experiments are going on now but they are on-station experiments, but we need to take those experiments to the farmers so that we test the effects of it on the soil and some other biotic factors so that we can now think of adopting”, Dr Yahaya stated.
Dr. Yahaya also explained that revamping the cotton industry will go a long way to reduce the high unemployment rate in the country since it would serve as a source economic activity to the people, particularly the youth.
However, an Agronomist ate the CSIR-SARI, Dr. George Mahama, indicated that though the call for GM cotton was in the right direction, the poor soil fertility, particularly, in northern Ghana would impede its success.
He explained that the poor climate condition coupled with negative farming practices among farmers had resulted in fast depletion of the soil nutrients.
Dr. Mahama entreated farmers to adopt proper agronomic practices including rotating cotton with other shallow rooted crops to maximize the soil nutrients for improve yield.