NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture has enhanced
coordination with other regulatory agencies to ensure that
genetically modified crops pose minimal health and environmental
risks, officials said on Thursday.
Hamadi Boga, the
Principal Secretary for Agricultural Research in the Ministry,
said that Kenya has invested in a strong regulatory
infrastructure alongside skilled personnel to ensure that
adoption of genetically engineered crops is devoid of risks.
“As a country, Kenya
has opted to embrace modern biotechnology to combat perennial
food insecurity while protecting the environment and human
welfare,” said Boga.
“To achieve this
goal, we are required to implement globally recognized legal and
regulatory framework to enhance biosafety,” he added.
Boga spoke in
Nairobi during an annual biosafety conference attended by
policymakers, regulators, scientists and lawmakers from the
region to discuss regulations governing adoption of genetically
modified crops in Kenya.
Boga noted that
Kenya’s regulatory agencies, farmers and consumer welfare groups
have benefitted from training and exposure to demystify
commercialization of biotech maize and cotton that is in the
have received capacity building and exposure visits. There is a
lot of information about agriculture biotechnology and building
a consensus about products that are proposed for
commercialization in the country should not be difficult,” said
Kenya is banking on
large-scale adoption of genetically modified crops to achieve
the Big Four Agenda items on food security and manufacturing.
Boga stressed that
robust safety measures are in place to ensure that cultivation
and trade in biotech crops is not detrimental to health of
ecosystems and communities.
So far, Kenyan
regulatory agencies have approved national performance trials of
Bt cotton to pave way for its commercialization.
Boga said that Bt
cotton is expected to jump-start the country’s moribund garment
manufacturing sector and create new jobs.
He revealed that
Kenya has borrowed best practices from African pioneers in
agriculture biotechnology like Burkina Faso, Sudan and South
Africa to facilitate smooth adoption of Bt cotton and maize.