Crop Biotech Update

Kenyan Stakeholders Tell Government Taskforce to Lift GM Food Imports Ban

April 30, 2014

Biotechnology stakeholders in Kenya last week formally petitioned a government taskforce set up to review GMO food safety to urgently lift the ban on GMO food imports. The stakeholders presented these views during public hearing held in Nairobi on 25 April 2014. The taskforce is now expected to utilize the views submitted to it during the public hearing to prepare a report with recommendations on how the Government of Kenya should proceed with regards to GM products.

Stakeholders have maintained that the ban, which was imposed by the Ministry of Public Health in November 2012, was based on misinformation about the safety of GMO foods and is sending conflicting signals to the public as to what the true position of the government is on biotechnology.

"The Kenyan Government has invested millions of taxpayers' money on research on improved biotech crops such as the biotech cotton developed through the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). However, there appears to be indecisiveness when it comes to implementation of the various pro-biotechnology policies that have been promulgated in the country," noted Mr. Kennedy Oyugi, one of the biotech stakeholders who made their submissions at the public hearing.

The ongoing confusion on the government position on biotechnology is exemplified by a recent television interview by the Deputy President who confirms that the government is keen on revamping the cotton sector by adopting biotech cotton.

For more details, contact Jonathan Odhong at jodhong@isaaa.org.