KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
COTTON Board of Zambia (CBZ) says there is need to explore bio-technology (BT) process for cotton production since it has a gene that prevents the crops from disease attacks.
In an interview on Monday, CBZ senior cotton inspector Nyambe Kwalombota said current bio-safety regulations do not allow bio-technology in the country.
“The process [BT] has a gene that prevents the crop from being attacked by bollworm and other pests. It also reduces chemical usage and many countries including neighbouring Malawi have started using bio-technology to increase cotton production,” he said.
Mr Kwalombota said cotton farming should be supported because of the potential the sector has to create jobs in production and sales including, those involved in transportation.
“Cotton is always bought by ginners, there has been no year when farmers are stuck with the produce. Actually there is even a better price fetching at K4.00 per kilogramme.
“Cotton is one of the crops that earns foreign exchange by virtue that it is exported. Lint is exported and the seed is crushed into edible oil while the residue is used to produce livestock feed, which is has a higher protein content than the one made from soya,” Mr Kwalombota said.
He said this year’s production declined from 100,000 tonnes to about 60,000 tonnes because many farmers opted to grow other crops since a lower price was offered during the previous season.