soybean field

Kenyan Governors Call for the Lifting of GMO Ban

On May 29, a group of Kenyan governors, who recently visited the U.S., publicly called for the lifting of a ban on the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
A delegation of nine Kenyan county governors and six senior officers from the Kenyan ministry of agriculture visited the U.S. from March 9-15.  USSEC’s Marketing Manager Lead on the United Soybean Board (USB) Freedom to Operate (FTO) Action Team Randy Olson was part of a team comprised of representatives from the U.S. agriculture sector who participated and supported this visit to observe biotech research and development and how it could benefit Kenya.
In 2012, the former Kenyan president directed the then public health minister to ban the import of GMOs, citing health fears and called for a task force report.  Jack Ranguma, Kisumu county governor and chairman of the Health and Biotechnology Committee in the Council of Governors, who led the visiting Kenyan delegation to the U.S., stated, “Science guides innovation and implementation and I believe the ban imposed was not based on facts. . .This technology should be adopted, especially in agriculture.”  He went on to warn that the ban on GMOs, if not reversed, would hurt Kenya’s economy and worsen food insecurity.  Mr. Ranguma said that biotech crops contribute to food security and sustainability by helping to increase production while using fewer pesticides.  “The use of biotechnology is worldwide and we are staring at the prospect of starving this generation if we do not adopt it.  With the growing population, the world will not be able to feed its people,” he said.
The publication of the governors’ statement in of all Kenya’s major newspapers is timely as the long-delayed report of the GMO ban task force is expected to be presented to the Kenyan cabinet in the next few weeks.  The public support of the governors and the parliamentary committee on agriculture is seen as key to the ban’s revocation.