Cotton, a natural fiber, has been grown in Ethiopia for millennia. However, the local production hardly satisfies the demand of textile industries in the country. This is despite the fact that a total of three million hectares of suitable land, which is equivalent to that of Pakistan’s, the fourth largest cotton producer in the world, is available in the country. To reverse the situation, Ethiopia recently started experimenting with Genetically Modified (GM) cotton variety known as BT cotton.
GM cotton varieties have proven to be successful in India, China, Pakistan and US. Currently, 25 million hectares of land is cultivated around the globe with this variety. Ethiopia is moving in the same direction. However, there is a recent development in which growers’ of the commodity are reverting back to locally improved cotton seeds. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale has delved into the matter and spoken to researchers, policy makers and industrialists to offer this report.