GENET archive


2-Plants: Kenyan MP wary of GM crop trials

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  MP wary of GM crop trials
SOURCE: East African Standard, Kenya
DATE:   28 Sep 2005

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MP wary of GM crop trials

An MP yesterday asked the Government to suspend trials on Genetically
Modified (GM) crops, pending development of strong biosafety policies and
legal framework.

Mr David Nakitare (Saboti) also said further field trials on genetically
engineered crops should be stopped until the technology was proved safe
to the environment.

He said many people in Africa would be affected if the technology was
found dangerous to man and the environment.

"At least 85 per cent of people in the continent practice small-scale
agriculture. This is why it is important to tread cautiously on GMO
crops," he said

He praised the Government for ordering the destruction of GM maize under
field trial. The MP added that the same policy should be implemented
against genetically modified cotton, cassava and sweet potatoes.

Nakitare pointed out that this was necessary because the country did not
have bio-safety laws.

He also urged stakeholders, farmers and consumers "to take more interest
to understand the issues around GM crops and participate in the debate on
genetic engineering of crops."

The MP was speaking at a civil society strategy workshop on GMOs in
African Agriculture at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi.

"I urge you to explore other practical and sustainable alternatives to
increase food production in Africa and, most important, how the increased
food can be brought to the table of poor people in Africa."

The meeting was attended by representatives of over 20 countries in
Africa and international organisations.

                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Enact laws on GMOs
SOURCE: East African Standard, Kenya
DATE: 28 Sep 2005

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Enact laws on GMOs

A meeting of experts on Genetically Modified Organisms opened in Nairobi
yesterday, with a call to make laws and regulations to govern research
and use of such foods.

Opinion is split worldwide on whether genetically modified foods are
beneficial to humankind. Those opposed to GMOs argue that they could pose
serious health risks to consumers and benefits could far outweigh the
costs. Other theorists offer that to protect Africa's genetic heritage,
western researchers should not be allowed to conduct experiments unchecked.

Although arguments for or against GMOs usually generate more heat than
light, it is true that these foods could be the panacea to Africa's
perennial food shortage and poverty. Even some of the strongest critics
of GMOs such as the World Health Organisation have recently softened
their stand, saying they can bring benefits to both farmers and consumers.

However, each country has its unique needs, which must be assessed before
rushing to embrace practices that have been rejected elsewhere. Only
recently, Kenya suspended field trials on genetically modified maize
after a major anomaly was discovered in a move aimed at stopping further
abuse of procedures. This action underscores the dangers that exist in a
lawless research scenario.

That is why we ask that laws and regulations governing research and use
of GMOs be taken seriously. As a country, we must tread carefully to
ensure consumers are protected from harmful foods.


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
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