Crop Biotech Update

Kenya Biosafety Regulations Discussed

April 20, 2011

Kenyan Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology Hellen Sambili has committed to publish the Kenya Biosafety Regulations, which will take the country to the next level of commercialization of genetically modified crops. The Minister opened a stakeholders' workshop to discuss the draft Biosafety regulations at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) headquarters on April 12, 2011. She said the workshop aimed to solicit stakeholders' inputs into the regulations in compliance with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for Public Participation in regulatory matters. The government published a National Biotechnology Development Policy in 2006, enacted the Biosafety Act in 2009, and established a National Biosafety Authority in 2010.

Stakeholders from research institutions, ministry officials, parliamentarians, universities, civil society, industry and various embassy representatives participated and provided valuable contributions towards the refinement of the Draft Regulations. The final draft will be presented to the Minister for publication in the gazette, which in essence will operationalize the Biosafety Act. The three sets of Draft Regulations are: the Contained Use, the Environmental Release; and Export, Import and Transit. These have been developed by the National Biosafety Authority together with its regulatory agencies and in consultation with the State Law Office.

The National Biosafety Authority acting C.E.O., Dr. Roy Mugiira informed the audience that the crops in the pipeline for commercialization are Bt cotton, the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) and Insect Resistant Maize, among others.

For more information contact Dr. Roy Mugiira, Acting C.E.O of the National Biosafety Authority, at roybmugiira@gmail.com or Mugiira@yahoo.com.