Kenya to lift ban on GMOs

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shutterstock_182088206 copyThe Kenyan government will lift their ban on genetically modified crops in two months, Deputy President William Ruto said on Wednesday.

"Various government ministries, departments and agencies concerned with biotechnology have already consulted and agreed on the necessary regulations and safety measures to be adhered to so that we can maximize on agricultural production, improve health services, conserve the environment and basically improve the living standards of our people," he stated.

Deputy President Ruto also explained that he did not want Kenya to lag behind because of misinformation while the rest of the world moves far ahead with the adoption of agricultural biotechnology.

Kenyan scientists have been pushing for the lifting of the ban to help the country deal with hunger. The ban was established in 2012, and was influenced by the infamous junk study by Gilles-Eric Séralini. The 2012 study claimed that pesticide-treated, genetically-modified corn was causing cancer in lab rats. However, Séralini used a rodent variety that was specifically bred to develop tumors, and he cherry picked results to satisfy his own bias. The study was quickly retracted from the journal that originally published it.

"Scientists, and especially those from the National Biosafety Authority, should be able to confound skeptics. We should be able to tell the public that anything genetically modified is not harmful. Science and technology is what will take us to the next level," said Deputy President Ruto. (Sounds like he s been reading ACSH.)

Just a few months ago, we wrote about Kenya s neighbor Uganda proposing the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, which contains provisions that would allow farmers to start growing modified foods. However, the bill is currently being blocked by anti-GMO activists. This is unfortunately happening at a time when Uganda s number one staple crop, the banana, has been under attack from a bacterial disease that wilts the fruit. Ugandan scientists have developed transgenic banana varieties that are 100% resistant to the wilt but thanks to the activists, these varieties will remain in laboratories rather than fields, at least for the time being.