Crop Biotech Update

Kenyan Governors Call for Lifting of GMO Ban

June 11, 2014

The chairman of the Council of Kenyan Governors on Health and Biotechnology, Governor Jacktone Ranguma has called on the government to lift the ban on imports of genetically modified foods. Speaking at the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology event, the Governor argued that the ban on GM food was rushed and the country is sending mixed signals to investors who are eager to invest in the country. He opined that the country ought to commercialize biotech cotton, especially in dry areas such as Kisumu, Baringo, Kwale, Siaya and Homa Bay counties, to ensure food security for impoverished farmers and create job opportunities.

He acknowledged the potential of biotech crops in preserving the environment through the use of less sprays.

"When I visited Burkina Faso, I learned that biotech cotton requires only 2 sprays instead of six sprays used for conventional cotton. I believe this could be beneficial to our people," he noted. Governor Ranguma further challenged the government task force investigating safety of GM crops to produce a report based on scientifically verifiable facts and authentic research.

Governor Ranguma also decried delays in commercialization of Bt cotton in Kenya owing to the ban and therefore urged for a speedy resolution of the issue. "This ban is delaying at least 8 other cotton growing counties from commercializing Bt cotton. We know that our counties will reap major economic benefits by growing Bt cotton and would therefore like to move forward with this technology to revive the now moribund cotton sector," he emphasized.

For more information on OFAB Kenya, contact Dr. Margaret Karembu, director of ISAAA AfriCenter at mkarembu@isaaa.org and Chair of the OFAB-Kenya Programming Committee.