Activists wants Ruto to return the ban on GMOs to protect the health of Kenyans and the food system

Activists angered by the lifting of the ban on Genettically modified organisms (GMOs) have appealed to President Ruto to reinstate the ban.

They have warned that GMOs poses a health risk to the populace and also a big threat to the country’s biodiversity.

The activists the governtment to conduct a participatory process to look into the long term and sustainable solution to food security in the country.

The views were expressed by over twelve civil society groups in Kenya who are against the lift of the ban of GMO foods in the country which was done on 4 october 2022.

Anne Maina , the director of African Bio-diversity Network, said the lift of the ban does not take concern of the constitution and that there was no public participation in the decision made about the lifting of the ban.

”We want to remind the President and his new government that beyond their promises to run a transparent government, public participation is enshrined in our constitution and decisions of this magnitude must be subjected to public participation,” said Maina.

She added that GMOs do not embrace local production and consumption rather it is an avenue to open market for a powerful American country since GMO foods are produced organism whose genome are engineered in a specified laboratory and there are non of such laboratories in the country.

She said that use of GMO crop seeds cannot be replanted hence it increases the dependence of farmers on profit-oriented multinational coperations that are not only expensive but also makes them vulnerable to market and global supply shocks.

She added that GMOs are a technology like any other and they are prone to failure and malfunctioning hence there is need to put in place mechanisms/ compensation in the result of failure or negative effect to the technology to safeguard the businesses and livelihood of farmers.

According to Sally Kemunto, the coordinator of National Biosafety Authority (NBA), consumers will easillly recognize and make informed decisison on whether to consume the GMOs product or not, since the products will be well labelled.

” Over 57% of Kenyans are not willing to consume GMOs and need to have a clear way to identify what they want to pick and what they don’t want in the supermarket. A huge number of Kenyans don’t understand about these foods since they are not informed and their participation to make this decision was not included,” said the NBA coordinator.

They demanded that the ban be reinstated, and that the government protects local and indigenious foods.

They further said that the economic patnership and technology transfer agreements should be transparent, mutually beneficial and strive to solve the problems of local farmers.

They should also review the biosafety policy regulatory and institutional framework to ensure implementation of the precautionary principle in the adoption of biotechnology.

Also the government in patnership with CSOs, consumer and farmer organizations should immediately roll out public awareness campaigns to inform the public about pros and cons associated with GM food and seek their consent before allow them on Kenyan’s plates.

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