Limited Knowldege and Understanding Slowing Down Biotech in Africa, says Kenyan Minister
Kenya's Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Margaret Kamar has called on scientists and other biotechnology stakeholders to be more proactive in sharing information about the benefits of biotechnology. This rallying call by the government was made during the official opening ceremony of the 1st Annual National Biosafety Conference which is currently underway in Nairobi.
The minister also pointed out that more knowledge sharing with all interest groups will go a long way in ensuring that government investment in biotechnology bears fruits. "Kenya is investing in biotechnology in order to maximize productivity in agriculture, industry, protection of the environment and conservation of biodiversity and so scientists need to be proactive and demystify public concerns with compelling evidence". The minister also challenged Kenya's National Biosafety Authority to be more active in assuring the public about the safety of GM foods.
Another representative of the Kenyan government at the conference, Dr. Wilson Songa, Agriculture Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture supported the Minister's call. "We need to focus more on capacity strengthening and take advantage to utilize biotechnology in addressing food security and other areas that contribute to industrial competitiveness such as adoption of Bt cotton. Creating awareness is equally important." The 1st Annual National Biosafety Conference has been running from August 6-9 with the theme "Strengthening National Capacity for Biosafety Management".
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This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)