Kenya GMO Ban — Will It Be Lifted?

The Kenyan government is considering lifting the GMO ban, probably this month.

Kenya GMO Ban

Photo by Bart Sullivan. Yero Coulibaly and his brothers plow their cotton field between rain storms near Wali.

If the Kenya GMO ban is lifted, they will become the fifth African country to cultivate GM crops, following in the foosteps of South Africa, Burkina Faso, Egypt, and Sudan.

Previously, the Deputy President, William Ruto, made the announcement at the fourth Annual Biosafety Conference organised by the Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in Nairobi.

“Mark my words, in a matter of a month or two, we should be out of the ban,” he said. “I want to allay any fear from any quarter that there will be any attempt to roll back what has already been achieved and to give our undertaking to the scientific community in Kenya that you have support by the government of Kenya in facilitating the work you are doing.”

Ruto pointed out the dwindling cotton sector, climate change, pests and diseases attack on staple crops like maize as some of the areas where biotechnology can offer a solution.

Kenya had banned GMO products in 2011 when the then Public Health Minister, Beth Mugo, expressed fears over the safety of their consumption.

According to the article, two of Uganda’s major food crops — cassava and bananas — face extinction from Banana Bacterial Wilt, the Cassava Mosaic Virus, and Cassava Brown Streak Disease, as pesticides and other measures have proven ineffective at stopping any of these aggressors.  Will GMOs be a solution to the problem, or will they open another Pandora’s Box in Africa?

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Author: renezimbelman

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