Biotech Updates

Kenya to Allow GM Maize Imports

July 8, 2011

The Kenyan government anticipates a shortage in the supply of maize of about 14.8 million 90-kg bags in the 2011/12 season due to drought. Thus, it decided to allow imports of maize from the major suppliers in South Africa.

"With the prevailing circumstances we are looking to expedite the publication of regulations on genetically modified (GM) crops that will spell out guidelines on the importation of GM," said Roy Mugiira, head of Kenyan National Biosafety Authority (NBA). "We are targeting to publish the regulation by next week and it is a first for the country," he added.

The maize deficit caused the closure of six major plants of millers. Another 28 major millers in Kenya stopped operations due to lack of maize.

"Biotech is the way we should go and ... it will help us to overcome our perpetual shortage of maize," said Diamond Lalji, chairman of Cereals Millers Association, which comprises 28 major millers in Kenya. "GM maize is cheaper by about 30 percent compared with non-GM and that is expected to bring down the cost of the final product," he added.

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