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NGOs in Kenya oppose lifting of GMOs ban

A section of non-profit organizations have expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to lift the ban on cultivation and importation of genetically modified organisms (GMO).

They claim the decision was made secretly and Kenyans who will be consuming GMO products were not given the opportunity to participate in decision-making.

The groups have now asked President William Ruto to reinstate the ban in order to allow a proper consultation and installation of facilities that will ensure local seeds are well protected.

“We demand that the ban be immediately reinstated and an inclusive participatory process be instituted to look into long-term and sustainable solutions to issues. The solutions will include putting in place safeguards to protect millions of producers and consumers who do not embrace the technology,” said Emmanuel Atamba from Route to Food.

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While speaking to the media on Thursday in Nairobi, the organisations say the existing regulatory framework in the country fails to provide a mechanism for redress in the event of possible harmful effects.

“What was the rush to lift the ban on GMOs even before such basic safeguards are in place?”

They said the food security issue in the country is not only about the amount but the quality and safety of food.

Also, the lobby groups have claimed that some of the government’s institutions entrusted to protect the consumers have been peddling misinformation about GMOs.

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While the government lifted the ban on GMOs as a mechanism to end the ongoing drought situation in the country that has affected more than 4 million people, the NGOs feel that the government should review the biosafety policy and regulation first.

“A robust monitoring mechanism is critical to aid in redress should technology cause harm to both human health and environment.”

Also, they have called for transparency in economic partnership, and technology transfer agreement.

“They should always take into account local socio-economic and socio-political situations rather than advance a colonial multinational profiteering and dumping of good models.”

According to the groups, Kenya is not ready to produce its GMO products and that the move will pave the way for such products to flood the Kenyan markets.

Also read: GMO food now legal in Kenya after government lifts ban