A national dialogue on GM crops was held in Nairobi on April 24, signalling strong public interest in policies that enable the safe use of this technology for disease resistant cassava and other crops.
Led by the Principal Secretary for Agricultural Research Prof. Hamadi Boga, and moderated by one of Kenya’s most respected media editors, Mr. Joe Ageyo, the public was enthusiastic about the dialogue, highlighting a need for such conversations to take place more often.
In his keynote address, Prof. Boga said Kenya should urgently invest in genetic research and gene-based technologies or risk perpetual dependence on purchasing them from other countries. He also hinted that a decision on lifting the country’s longstanding ban on GM crops should be revisited in the coming months, a possibility that was welcomed by biotechnology researchers and reported in the media.
Expert panelists from the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Kenya University Biotechnology Consortium (KUBICO), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Organic Consumers Alliance (OCA) and the Society for Biotech Farmers of Kenya (SOBIFAK) and others shared information and even diverging viewpoints.