DP William Ruto announces plans to lift GMOs ban


Deputy President William Ruto
Deputy President William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto has announced plans to lift the ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Speaking during the 4th National Biosafety Conference at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi on Wednesday, Ruto said that by lifting the ban imposed by former Public Health Minister Beth Gumo in 2012, the government will create an enabling environment for the growth of biotechnology innovations.

Ruto said that the government has put in place necessary safety measures adding that lifting the ban will show the country’s willingness to embrace modern biotechnology and enacting Biosafety Act if 2009.

The Act established the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) to regulate all activities GMOs in food, feed, research, industry, trade and environmental releases.

“When people hear anything scientific, they develop fear, they cringe, so it is our duty to overturn this unfounded fear,” saidRuto. “I want to challenge the Bio-Safety Authority to develop a bold public awareness campaign to make the country aware of what you are doing and why it’s important and how it affects people’s lives.”

He said the public must embrace science because it is what is going to lead to more future advancement.

“Science and technology is what will take us to the next level so we should not fear. Confound your critics now,” he said while asking the authority to make its work known.

He added that all the line ministries had been consulted and agreed that biotechnology is the way to the future and all the necessary laws will be put in place.

He said Kenya made a bold decision to embrace modern biotechnology as attested to by the signing of Cartagena Protocol, Biotechnology Policy and Enacting Biosafety Act in 2009.

The Deputy President said a lot has been achieved since the enactment of the Biosafety Act and similarly had been taken to ensure that genetic engineering technology is implemented safely.

Speaking at the same function, NBA Board of Management chairman Prof. Jenesio Kinyamario said they were committed to ensuring safety in the application of biotechnology in the country.

The Authority’s Chief Executive Officer Willy Kiprotich Tonui cited the ban of GMO by the Cabinet in 2012 as a major setback and requested the Government to urgently expedite a taskforce report released after the ban in settling the matter.

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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