Parliamentary team recommends local production of GMO crops
The National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee wants the country to beef up its capacity in developing genetically modified foods (GMO) locally.
Speaking during an industry consultative meeting on Tuesday, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee Noor Mohammed said this move would play a major role in mitigating against perennial food shortages in the country.
According to Mr Noor, the country is yet to exhaust other avenues in ensuring food security and should not resort to importation of GMO products yet.
“This country has a lot of potential for food production, arid and semi arid lands for irrigation. We are not expanding land use and we must exhaust all this. We got our issues in terms of policies but we shall not believe that gmo is the only way for food safety,” Mr Noor said.
The house team has also recommended that the government ought to continue funding research on the viability of GMOs in Kenya while sending out caution to anyone with intentions to abuse the products.
“We don’t want to be a dumping ground for other people. But in terms of research and improvement of varieties we have no problem with it,” he said.
With the ban on importation of GMO products still in place, the house team suggested a few conditions in the event that it is lifted.
Scientists and students in Kenya have been piling pressure on the government to lift a ban imposed in 2012 on importation of GMO products.
The government cited health concerns as the main reason for the move, a view that many proponents of GMO products in the country have disputed.
“The World Health Organization has interrogated all GMO crops in market for 21 years officially, more than two billion hectares of land are under GMO crops over that time, and trillions of mills served and eaten by people over those years, and ascertained they are safe,” Dr Margaret Karembu, a campaigner for GMO products in Kenya said.
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