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EU says Yes to Kenya biotech food exports


EU says Yes to Kenya biotech food exports

EU says Yes to Kenya biotech food exports
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Kenya and Head of Delegation Lodewijk Briet. Photo credit: Nation Media Group

The European Union has rescinded its earlier statement that Kenyan farmers will find it difficult to find market in the EU if the country adopts genetically modified crops.

The Head of Rural Development and Agriculture at the EU Dominique Davoux Friday said they have no problem importing GM products from countries that meet the set guidelines.

The official, who spoke on behalf of the EU Head of Delegation to Kenya, Ambassador Briet Lodewijk, said the envoy had been quoted out of context when early this year, he reportedly said the trading bloc would not accept GM products from Kenya.

“The position of EU is that we have a list of GMO products to be imported into the EU space. If Kenya contributes there, it will have access to the market,” he said during a press conference in Nairobi.

Mr Briet said the EU has authorised the importation of 58 genetically modified crops including GM maize, soya, oilseed rape, sugar beet and cotton.

Friday’s forum was organised by The Kenya University Biotechnology Consortium in collaboration with the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.

The meeting was attended by researchers, policy makers, MPs the private sector.

Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua, who last month led MPs in a fact-finding mission in Europe, urged for an unconditional lifting of the ban.

“Why are developed countries that are able to feed their people coercing us to remain backward? In Spain we met farmers growing GM maize.”

Ms Mutua said lifting the ban would open the door for the commercialisation of BT cotton, which has been proved to be several times more cost-effective than traditional cotton.

“It is illogical to associate cancer with GM technology yet there are so many Kenyans dying now of cancer yet there is no genetically modified ones in the country. Even cellphones faced opposition due to myths when they came to Kenya,” she said.


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