The ban on the cultivation of Genetically Modified Crops (GMO) which had been in place in Kenya since November 2012 when President Mwai Kibaki banned GM food, has been lifted by President Ruto.
The importation of GMO produced food crops and animal feeds, which was also prohibited, will also now be allowed.
The move by President Ruto, which comes against a background of the continuing drought that has been witnessed in 23 counties, was announced after a Cabinet meeting in State house, Nairobi, yesterday.
The President announced:
“In accordance with the recommendation of the task force to review matters relating to Genetically Modified Foods and Food Safety, in fidelity with the guidelines of the National Biosafety Authority on all applicable treatise including the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, by dint of executive action, open cultivation of white (GMO) maize is authorised.”
At the Cabinet meeting proposals were also considered on climate change adaption, reducing Kenya’s dependence on rain-fed agriculture by increasing irrigation, and the greater use of planting drought-resident and more diverse crops.
Commercialisation of Bacillus Thuringiensis
In December 2019 the commercialization of Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) Cotton Hybrids was allowed in Kenya. BT is a genetically enhanced variant of cotton that is more resistant to African Bollworm that is the most destructive and widespread pest affecting cotton farming.