The Kenyan government has lifted its ban on Genetically Modified Crops in the country after 10 years suspension, permitting farmers to cultivate and import food crops and animal feeds that have been genetically enhanced through biotechnology.
In a meeting Chaired by President William Ruto in State House Nairobi, the cabinet reached the decision in accordance with the recommendation of the Task Force to Review Matters Relating to Genetically Modified Foods and Food Safety, and in fidelity with the guidelines of the National Biosafety Authority on all applicable international treaties including the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB).
Kenya has been reluctant to approve the import or planting of genetically modified food crops since November 2012, amid an ongoing debate about the safety of GMO crops, which are have been lauded for their advantages including resistance to drought, pests, and higher yields.
“As part of the medium to long term responses to the ongoing drought, and as a progressive step towards significantly redefining agriculture in Kenya by adopting crops that are resistant to pests and disease…” read the statement in part.
In July, the Kenyan government issued additional tariff exemptions for genetically engineered Bt. cottonseed cake, distillers’ dried grains with solubles, and rapeseed cake to address rising feed costs. Across Africa, GM crops are commercially grown in South Africa, Nigeria and Sudan.