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Kenya says it has capacity to embrace GMOs

19 August 2016, 17:37

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said on Wednesday it has adequate human capacity and infrastructure for agricultural biotechnology research and development, including those in genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Willy Bett, said the country has over 100 scientists with philosophy degrees working in the field of biotechnology activities globally.

"Out of the number, 45 percent work in the public sector spread all over the country," Bett said during the opening of the 5th annual national biosafety conference in Nairobi.

Kenya has 14 public research institutions, five private, two regional and four international organizations carrying out agricultural biotechnology research and development projects.

"The presence of facilities demonstrates that Kenya has Biosafety facilities for modern biotechnology which are adequately equipped to international standards for detecting, testing and assessing the safety of genetically modified foods," Bett said.

Bett said that Kenya was steadily moving towards commercialization of GMOs and ready to benefit from the economic activities fueled by research and innovation in the biological sciences.

He said that investing in agriculture was the most effective way to end hunger and improve nutrition for Kenya.

"In fact, growth in agriculture in sub Saharan Africa is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in any other sector," he added.

Agriculture is contributing 26 percent to Kenya's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while 75 percent of Kenyans are engaged in agriculture either directly or indirectly.

- Xinhua


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