130 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 STATUS INDONESIA The government of Indonesia has approved the first geneti- cally modified crop which will soon be commercialized in the country. The biotech sugarcane event NXI-4T which con- tains betaine gene was developed by the state- owned sugar company, PT Perkebunan Nusantara XI (PTPN XI). The gene expressed osmoprotectant compound which was intro- duced using Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated plant transformation. The GM crop was developed through the collaborative efforts of PTPN XI, Jember University, and Ajinomoto Company. The bio- tech sugarcane can produce 10-30 percent more sugar than conventional parental lines under drought condi- tions. The feed safety approval was granted by the Ministry of Agriculture in August 2018. The next step of the develop- ers is to plan the commerciali- zation of the biotech crop to meet the demands for sugar- cane and its by-products in Indonesia. STATUS KENYA Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has instructed the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to explore the possibility of farming Bt cotton to revitalize the country's cotton sub-sec- tor. In his Heroes' Day address to the nation, President Kenyatta directed the three ministries to work together world STATUS A look at seed industry developments around the globe. Indonesia approves the first genetically modified crop, Kenya looking at revitalizing their cotton industry with Btcotton. and come up with a quick mechanism to revive the pro- duction of cotton, including the possibility of introducing biotech cotton. The President's directive marks a big step towards commercialization of the crop which is now undergoing National Performance Trials (NPTs). The pronunciation adds a fresh impetus to the ‘Big Four' Action Plan, aimed at accelerating the country's economic growth. Under the Plan, the government banks on Bt cotton adoption to revive the textile and apparel industry and increase the con- tribution of the manufacturing sector to the country's GDP from the current 9.2 percent to 20 percent by 2022. As part of the revitalization process, the government aims at creating 680,000 direct jobs through cotton farm- ing, 210 jobs at ginning level, 6,000 at integrated mills and 25,000 at garments manufac- turing. The revival will further create an import substitution of Ksh1.2 billion ($11.87 million) and enhance self-sufficiency of lint for exports that will earn Kenya Sh8.75 billion ($86 mil- lion) in foreign exchange. Only 30,000 farmers are currently cultivating cotton while the industry has the potential to support over 200,000 farmers. According to the country' Fiber Crops Directorate, domestic market demand for lint is 140,000 bales against a production of 21,000 bales. "Cotton farm- ing was once a major source of income and livelihood for many people in this region," laments the President. Adoption of Bt cotton is expected to boost productiv- ity from the current estimate of 572 kg/ha to 2,500 kg/ha, and lower the cost of produc- tion by 40 percent. The presi- dential nod for genetically modified (GM) cotton cultiva- tion comes in the wake of a study tour of India's cotton sub-sector by Kenyan policy- makers. India's biotech cotton success story convinced the policymakers that the improved crop will make a big contribution towards resolv- ing cotton farming woes in the country. –Source: Alliance for Science STATUS ETHIOPIA The Ethiopian government is counting on agricultural bio- technology to sustain national economic growth, the coun- try's State Minister of Science and Innovation, Shumete Gizaw, has revealed. Speaking during the opening of a technical communications workshop for biotechnol- ogy and biosafety scientists in Addis Ababa, the State Minister said the government has reaffirmed its commit- ment to poverty reduction through policies that support biotechnology research and innovation. Gizaw voiced government concern over the poor state of food security in the country due to the effects of climate change. "Historically, Ethiopian food production has severely been affected by rainfall variability, extended drought, crop failure, and famine. We believe that agri-biotech- nology can help combat the