Kenya to Lift Ban on GMO’s
Despite the concerns of smallholder farmers and anti GMO campaigners, Kenya is set to lift its 2012 ban on genetically modified organisms (GMO) by November 2015. This announcement was made in August by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto who said the government would legalise the use of GMO technology and GMO seeds in two months.
The main concern for smallholder farmers, is the possible expense of patented GMO seeds that prohibit re-use, require royalties to be paid for continued use or need to be used with expensive chemicals for best possible crop. On the other hand, the concern of anti GMO campaigners is that GMO products pose various health hazards.
To ease the concerns of the anti GMO campaigners, Kenya has developed labelling regulations through the Kenya Bureau of Standards in line with the Kenya Bio Safety Act. These regulations once in place, will help consumers differentiate between genetically modified and organically grown foods. Kenya has also been researching GMO’s for several years and has come up with a list of GMO products that are safe for consumption and/or use in the country.
While the government has not released any information on how it will seek to assist/ protect small scale farmers who have been growing traditional seed varieties, it is hoped that the action to lift the ban includes plans to level the playing feild for small hold farmers.
For more information, please contact Carole Theuri