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President Ruto has authorized billions for investment in biotech foods

October 4th 2022, 5:20:16 pm
President William Ruto speaking before flagging off relief food to famine-stricken families in various parts of the country at State House on September 26, 2022
  • The Kenyan cabinet has issued billions for funding the production of biotech foods 
  • The Kenyan government hopes to tackle some of the nation’s food crises via this initiative
  • The Kenyan cabinet is also taking safety measures to ensure that GMO crops are non-toxic to its people 

The Kenyan government is ensuring that its agricultural sector is highly productive.

The Kenyan Cabinet has approved billions in funding for firms involved in the genetically modified organisms (GMO) industry, following its approval of the farming and importation of biotechnology crops.

This initiative was taken to enhance the agricultural sector and boost the sector’s potency. The current food insecurity the country and its neighbor countries are faced with is enough incentive for the government to release the hefty fund.

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The idea was spearheaded by the President of the country, President William Ruto, who on Monday chaired a Cabinet meeting that lifted the 2012 moratorium that restricted importation or open cultivation of GMO crops.

The goal of this initiative is to reduce the cost of flour, which has now hit a high of Ksh200 ($1.65) for a two-kilo packet, by making GMO maize readily available in the market.

This move is also coming off the heels of the President’s removal of food subsidy, which he noted during his campaign was costly and counter-productive to the Kenyan economy.

The cabinet expressed concerns over safety measures in adopting GMO crops and has requested technical reports from technical reports Kenya's National Biosafety Authority (NBA), the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, United States of America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

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“In accordance with the recommendation of the Task Force to review matters relating to Genetically Modified Foods … the Cabinet vacated its earlier decision of November 8, 2012, prohibiting the open cultivation of genetically modified crops and the importation of food crops and animal feeds produced through biotechnology innovations.

Effectively lifting the ban on Genetically Modified Crops, by dint of the executive action open cultivation and importation of white (GMO) maize is now authorized.” Reads a Cabinet memo.

However, experts have assured the cabinet that GMO maize variety can yield double what farmers are getting from the conventional breeds given that they are drought tolerant and can withstand pests and diseases.

Chinedu Okafor
Chinedu is a Senior Reporter at Business Insider Africa with 5 years experience creating profoundly engaging and insightful content.

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