Biotechnology Communication Course in Kenya
The Kenya government is now paying more attention to building capacity for communicating agricultural biotechnology issues more effectively and in a coordinated manner. During a two-day Biotechnology Communication training course for senior personnel in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Wilson Songa, the Agriculture Secretary, underscored the need to shift attention to identifying and addressing pertinent concerns and reservations that various stakeholders may have on the technology. He emphasized the importance of communicating to stakeholders the benefits of using biotechnology products, and also the impressive progress of GM crops research in the country. Assuring the participants of Government's commitment in fast tracking completion of implementing regulations for operationalizing the recently enacted (February 2009) Kenya Biosafety Act, he said safe and responsible use of GM technology will be the guiding principle. "The Government will ensure all genetically modified products grown or traded in the country are thoroughly tested and conform to the highest international safety standards for both humans and the environment," he said.
The Communication course, which was held at the Africa Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD) on June 22nd -23rd 2009, was organized by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) AfriCenter in collaboration with the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS) and the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST). The aim of the course was to contribute towards strengthening capacity for implementation of the National Biotechnology Awareness Creation Strategy (BioAWARE). The strategic goal of BioWARE is to improve public awareness on all aspects of biotechnology through dissemination of accurate information and provision of guidelines to enhance informed decision making processes. The course also sought to equip participants which included senior Ministry head-office Directors, Provincial Directors of Agriculture, Parliamentary Liaison staff and Public Relations Officers with the knowledge and skills to respond authoritatively and speedily to concerns and issues surrounding implementation of the Biosafety Act. The Agriculture Secretary also reiterated Government's commitment to exploring means and ways of utilizing all available and proven technologies in helping Kenya achieve food security and combat poverty.
For details and information on biotechnology in Africa, contact Margaret Karembu, director of the East and Central Biotechnology Information Center (ECABIC) at email@example.com
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)