About 50 participants at a meeting of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) held discussions around CIMMYT agronomist Fred Kanampiu’s presentation on “Herbicide Seed Coating: Taming the Striga Witchweed,” on 29 March 2008, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Launched in Kenya in 2006, OFAB brings together stakeholders in agricultural biotechnology and enables interactions between scientists, journalists, civil society, industrialists, lawmakers, and policy makers. Kanampiu’s presentation focused on the economic significance of Striga in sub-Saharan Africa and the potential of the new herbicide seed coating technology for maize farmers there. The practice was jointly developed by CIMMYT, the Weizmann Institute, and the chemical company, BASF. Among other things, Kanapiu addressed concerns regarding possible environmental impacts of the technology, emphasizing that there are no residual effects at the levels being used.