By John Kariuki
The Kenya University Biotechnology Consortium has thrown its weight behind Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods. This comes hot on the heals of a heated debate as to whether the decision to lift ban on GMO imports was a wise one.
Dr. Joel Ochieng is the Secretary General of the Consortium and he argues:
“Allowing GM foods will lower food prices at a time when our country is facing food scarcity. We thank the Government for lifting the ban on importation of GM foods. We note that food prices are expected to come down because the ban has severely affected food prices.”
In Kenya maize accounts for approximately 10% of grain imports by volume and cost.
The consortium also urged the opponents of the GM debate to avoid controversy since the ban had been lifted before elections.
“Parliament declared the ban illegal in 2014 and the ban was lifted in June 2017 following a petition by KUBICO. Government allowed open cultivation of BT cotton which is a genetically modified variety in 2019. The government again allowed for limited import of GM maize in July 2022.”
The consortium also assured Kenyans on the safety of GM foods by clearly stating that there’s no single safety concern associated with BT crops.
Kenya has the capacity for biotech – to produce, test, regulate and conduct surveillance.
The Kenya University Biotechnology Consortium (KUBICO) is a non-political guild of biotechnology and biosafety experts in public universities using biotech approaches and innovations for better food security, health and the environment.