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Crop Biotech Update

Kenyan Gov't Officers Trained on Effective Biotech Communication

April 20, 2012

The government of Kenya through the BioAWARE Secretariat held a training workshop targeting Public Communication Officers (PCOs) in key Ministries and institutions on 16th and 17th of April 2012. The new initiative is seeking to expose the officers to the basic principles behind biotechnology, its adoption trends and status of biosafety frameworks in Africa.

Seventeen participants from the Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit (ASCU) Ministries benefited from the training that covered topics on the global status of commercialized biotech crops, the status of agricultural biotechnology in Kenya, and effective biotech communication. To cap it all, the participants had a practical session on DNA extraction.

Kenya is on the fast track to commercialize its first biotech crop (Bt cotton) within the next 18 months therefore making the training of government officers with the communication mandate even more necessary. "Bigger challenges await us when Kenya commercializes Bt cotton, but we are now more prepared to address the issues that may arise" said James Wodera, a communication officer at the Kenya Medical Research Institution (KEMRI).

While making the closing speech at the forum, Dr. Moses Rogut, Deputy Director of the National Council for Science and Technology thanked PBS and ISAAA for holding the training. He also noted that communication would be the frontier at which the race for adoption of GM crops in Kenya will be first lost or won.

For more information contact Dr. Margaret Karembu, director of ISAAA AfriCenter, at m.karembu@isaaa.org.