GENET archive


9-Misc: The Thika Declaration on GMOs

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  The Thika Declaration on GMOs
SOURCE: Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum, posted by GRAIN
DATE:   20 Aug 2004

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The Thika Declaration on GMOs
Statement from the Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum, 20 August, 2004

We, the Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum leaders, representing crop
farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk, do declare today, August 20th 2004,
that farming is our livelihood and not just a trade. Farming has been
passed down from generation to generation, and is now threatened by
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

GMOs are a danger to food security and our indigenous gene pool. Patented
GMO crops threaten farmers' ability to save and share their indigenous
seeds which have stood the test of time. Thus they will reduce our seed
security and food security, without the long and short term effects on
our health and environment being known. GMOs will hand control of our
food systems to the multinational companies, who have created these seeds
for financial gain, and not for our need.

These new seeds may create conflict between farmers due to the risks of
cross pollination from GMO to non GMO crops leading to contamination
between farms.

GMOs will increase costs for farmers. This new kind of agriculture has
been produced using a complicated and expensive process called genetic
engineering. To make their profits back from the farmers, the companies
patent the GMO seeds, which leads to higher costs for farmers, who are
then forbidden from saving and sharing their seeds for planting the
following season. If the seeds fail, farmers are left in great
destitution. The agrochemicals associated with GM crops will oblige
farmers to pay the high prices set by the companies, and replace the need
for paid farm labour, thereby threatening our livelihoods.

GMOs threaten Kenya's environment. A clean environment is a fundamental
right for all. GMOs on the contrary are contaminative, unfriendly to our
biodiversity, and pose a threat to the existence of our indigenous seeds,
to organic farming systems, and to human and animal health in general.

Our government is being arm-twisted to accept GMOs by multinationals,
without considering the effects on small scale farmers.

Small scale farmers in Kenya should be included in policy formulation on
agriculture research and food security. Government should invest in
irrigation, improvement of infrastructure, appropriate technologies,
marketing, subsidies, credit, farm inputs and better rangeland
management, and NOT ON GMOs.

We believe that God created life, and no one can own it, not even
Monsanto, Syngenta or other multinational companies. We therefore reject
all GMOs in agriculture, and call upon the Kenyan government to respect
our indigenous expertise. Therefore to be able to fully understand the
effects of GMOs on our livelihoods, health and environment, we demand a
twenty-year moratorium on GMOs in Kenya.

                                  PART II
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TITLE:  Farmers reject GM food crops
SOURCE: The Kenya Times
DATE:   25 Aug 2004

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Farmers reject GM food crops

The Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KESSFF) yesterday declared their
rejection to the new Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and
Genetically Engineered crops since it will pose a big threat to their
farming and livelihoods.

The Society's National chairman, Mr Moses Shaha, said that many small
scale farmers in Kenya, the East and Sourthen Africa region have serious
reservation about GM crops because of the high costs of company produced
seeds and more so the fact that the indigenous varieties will be
destroyed due to contamination.

Addressing a Press conference at Chester House, Mr Shaha also said that
in Kenya, the debate on the novel technologies is on-going and raging
with many key stakeholders in agriculture including the government ,the
NGO's and other institutions expressing their opinions on the matter
however the directly affected small scale farmers and consumers have not
been heard on this.

"It is not that farmers are against new technologies, so long as these
technologies will not force and destroy our indigenous seed varieties,
will not change our native farming systems knowledge and will not render
us helpless and at the mercy of the Trans National Companies to
monopolize even on what we eat", the chairman said.

The KESSFF thinks that at this juncture the decision to embrace GMO's
will not be a sound decision and therefore will avoid hasty decision.

                                  PART III
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TITLE:  GM Foods Bill Ready, Says Officer
SOURCE: The East African Standard, Kenya
DATE:   26 Aug 2004

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GM Foods Bill Ready, Says Officer

A bill to vet the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms that
could harm the environment and human health has been developed.

The National Council for Science and Technology says among other things,
the Bill calls for the formation of a strong and competent authority to
promote awareness and on biotechnology and biosafety policies.

Speaking at a workshop in Nakuru, a legal officer at the council, Mrs
Rachel Shibarila said the draft bill has been forwarded to the Cabinet
awaiting approval before it is tabled in Parliament.

Shabarila made the remarks during a workshop organised by the council in
Nakuru for its members and regulatory agencies.

While opening the workshop, Education Assistant minister, Kilemi Mwiria
said the government would support the Bill. The minister said regulations
for GMOs trials have been applied in the trial of sweet potato,
production of rinderpest vaccine, cotton, maize and transgenic cassava.

Prof George King'oriah, the council executive officer said attempts have
been made to harmonise the biosafety regulations at regional levels.


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