Anti-genetically modified organism groups have Friday urged Kenyans to reject food products labeled as such. At the same time, they castigated the government for trying to force GMOs on Kenyans.
Biodiversity and Biosafety Association Kenya (BiBa) Kenya National Coordinator Anne Maina said GMO is not a solution to chronic hunger or poverty.
“Importation and introduction of GM maize is going to directly interfere with the rights of consumers, it contravenes provisions of Kenyan Constitution which makes it mandatory to provide information to consumers. Sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya, our leaders have a fundamental responsibility to protect Kenyans and the lives of Kenyans,” said Maina.
BIBA now wants the 10 million duty-free GMO maize importation plan to be immediately dropped and the government to consider a non-GMO food importation arrangement.
Policy and Advocacy Expert Wanjiru Kamau, who was also speaking to the press on Friday, said Kenyan’s life matter and the sovereign power belongs to citizens.
Kamau insisted that Kenyans need to be exposed to more knowledge regarding GMOs as there is no more information to import the aforementioned crop and asked the government to rescind its plans.
Kamau’s statement was reiterated by Dr. Daniel Maingi of the Food Rights Alliance, who said the removal of the ban against GMOs was a way to make specific people rich.
Maingi stated that GMO technology contributes to cancer especially breast cancer thus insisted on non-GMO food.
Instead of importing GMO maize, Maingi recommended a backup plan like sorghum.
“It is needful for the government to go slow on the issue of GMO by denouncing the plans to import GM foods and consider non-GMO food options available in both local, regional and international markets. Pope Francis recently called for a change of lifestyles, by considering safe alternatives and rich food biodiversity to build nutritional health and alleviate hunger amongst our communities,” he stated.
BIBA now wants all GMO food to be branded and packaged to give Kenyans the right to choose.
It has also asked the government to put in place a robust institutional capacity to carry out risk and food safety assessments before the introduction of GMO and any other related questionable technologies.
Already BIBA has filed a case to oppose the lifting of the ban on GMO food.
The Cabinet, chaired by President William Ruto, passed a resolution on Monday, October 3, to lift the ban on GMO crops.
In a statement, Ruto said the move was after considering many factors, including experts and technical reports on the adoption of biotechnology.