In Summary
  • Civil society and lobby groups opposed to consumption of genetically modified organisms
  • Deputy President William Ruto last week told African states to adopt biotechnology to increase food production to feed the continent’s rising population.
  • The National Biosafety Authority’s was recently put on the spot after 12 popular food products were found to contain more than the allowed limit of GMO content.

Kenya is moving closer to embracing biotechnology (genetically modified organisms) to increase food production in the country, with top government officials coming out in its support.

Deputy President William Ruto last week told African states to adopt biotechnology to increase food production to feed the continent’s rising population.

“We need to ask ourselves, how do we get farmers to use benefits of science and biotechnology to deal with the problems of hunger and poverty? We should endeavour to demystify scientific and technological knowledge for farmers in our countries so that this knowledge can be applied to ensure food security,” Mr Ruto told the conference.

The DP said there was a need to educate farmers on ways through which to improve their farming methods and practices by leveraging on new technologies.

Governors also vowed to press for the lifting of the ban on GMOs in the country at a biotechnology stake holders’ forum held in Kisumu, saying it was not feasible to produce enough food to ensure food security using traditional methods.

The debate on use of GMOs continues to rage with some resistance, particularly from the civil society, which argues that such food has not been certified as fit for human consumption.

“We are not saying that GMOs should not be adopted, but for now, this should be on non-food crops like cotton. GMOs are not a panacea to the food insecurity and are not known to have solved problem of food shortages where they have been used,” said Mr John Mbuni, an agriculture expert and chairman of Kenya Society of Agriculture Professionals.

Page 1 of 2