Minister assures safety of GMO Products
20 February 2012, 12:43
Special Programs Minister Esther Murugi Mathenge has
assured Kenyans that all food imported into the country for relief purposes
must meet all safety check requirements to ensure it is safe for human
Speaking at a Meru hotel on Sunday when she opened a two
days' workshop on Biotech Outreach and awareness, Murugi said the country was
facing a serious food deficit following poor harvests last season saying 4.3
million Kenyans are in need of food relief support.
She said frost in parts of Nyandarua District which is a
major food basket and poor rains experienced in Eastern and North Eastern
Provinces had compounded the problem saying currently her Ministry is
purchasing 2.4 million of bags of maize from South Rift to restock strategic food reserves which have
dwindled from the required 4 million bags.
The Minister said there was need for food experts to
sensitize the Public, Political leaders and the Media on the safety of G.M.O. Genetic
modified crops saying they should not be dismissed as hazardous to human life
if they meet safety requirements and are safe for human consumption saying many
countries of the world have adopted
She said when proved to be safe for consumption, G.M.O.
crops can play a major role in alleviating hunger and saving lives of millions
of people who may die if there is no help for relief coming in good time.
She said in the recent past a section of Kenyans has
expressed concern regarding the safety of genetically modified foods to human
health and the environment saying the concerns were sustained by inadequate and
lack of scientific information or misinformation regarding the ongoing work in
biotechnology, the capacity of the country to deal with the GMO products and
available legal, technical and environmental mechanisms to assure the safety of
the public and environment.
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Minister Murugi said through the adoption of new
agricultural practices adopting G.M. technology, it will be possible to
mitigate climate change by developing crops for climatic adaption, which will
lead to reduced loses and improve productivity in the agricultural sector in
line with the vision 2030 development flagships.
The two days workshop was attended by Agriculture
Extension staff, teachers and students, Consumer Networks Research Scientists, bio-safety regulators from KEPHIS, KEBS, and NBA, from
Eastern and Central Provinces.
It was sponsored by the United States Agency for
International Development USAID,in conjunction with the University of Nairobi.
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