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POLICY & REGULATION: Kenyan Agriculture Committee of Parliament raises red flag on GMO’s



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE RAISES RED FLAG ON GMO?S

SOURCE:  Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya (KBC)

AUTHOR:  Judith Akolo

URL:     http://www.kbc.co.ke/news.asp?nid=71833

DATE:    10.08.2011

SUMMARY: "The Agriculture Committee of Parliament has once more raised the red flag claiming that indeed, genetically modified maize is in circulation in the local market. The revelation comes just a day after the Cabinet committee chaired by President Mwai Kibaki allayed fears of an influx of GMO maize into the country. [...] The Agriculture Committee of Parliament has come up with more damning evidence and claims that a consignment quarantined in Mombasa is being re-bagged and released into the market."

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AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE RAISES RED FLAG ON GMO?S

Mututho is now questioning the rationale of Tuesday?s denial by the Cabinet that no GM maize has been allowed into the local market.

The Agriculture Committee of Parliament has once more raised the red flag claiming that indeed, genetically modified maize is in circulation in the local market.

The revelation comes just a day after the Cabinet committee chaired by President Mwai Kibaki allayed fears of an influx of GMO maize into the country.

The Cabinet directed asked the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology to prepare a technical report on the concerns raised by the public on GMO food.

The Agriculture Committee of Parliament has come up with more damning evidence and claims that a consignment quarantined in Mombasa is being re-bagged and released into the market.

Chairman John Mututho is now questioning the rationale of Tuesday?s denial by the Cabinet that no GM maize has been allowed into the local market.

The Committee says government organs including the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) have sidestepped advise provided by the Kenya Bureau of Standards - KEBS not to allow the maize into the country.

?The Kenya Bureau of Standards is the only government organ that seems to be doing it work, KEBS stopped the consignment because it lacks any information about the port of origin nor the table showing the contents of the maize is not specified,? said John Pesa a member of the Agriculture Committee.

And MP Fred Outa insists that that the maize lacks the requisite information and worse still, the company that is importing the maize is the same one that provides packaging bags to the importers, ?This is against the norm and the regulations,? said Outa.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet was emphatic that genetically modified maize had been imported and instead directed the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology to prepare a technical report on the concerns raised by the public over GMOs.

In a statement, the Cabinet said that no GM maize had so far been imported into the country, contrary to reports of the alleged importation of a consignment of GM maize that was claimed to have been seized at the Mombasa port.

The committee is however agrees that genetic modification is a technology that ought to be allowed but insists that the requisite laws and regulations ought to be in place with proper advise on its effects in order for the public to make informed choices.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   OFFICIALS STOP OFFLOADING OF ALLEGED GMO MAIZE

SOURCE:  Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya (KBC)

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.kbc.co.ke/news.asp?nid=71760

DATE:    07.08.2011

SUMMARY: "A ship from Malawi has been stopped from offloading 8178 tonnes of maize suspected to be genetically modified. This is after members of two Parliamentary committees raised suspicion over the consignment. The Agriculture and Education committees led by Naivasha MP John Mututho and David Koech of Mosop respectively raised alarm with the Kenya Bureau of Standards and KEPHIS officials after they discovered that the maize was not labeled as required by law."

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OFFICIALS STOP OFFLOADING OF ALLEGED GMO MAIZE

A ship from Malawi has been stopped from offloading 8178 tonnes of maize suspected to be genetically modified.

This is after members of two Parliamentary committees raised suspicion over the consignment.

The Agriculture and Education committees led by Naivasha MP John Mututho and David Koech of Mosop respectively raised alarm with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) and KEPHIS officials after they discovered that the maize was not labeled as required by law.

The ship MV Baltic Voyager docked at Mombasa port berth number eight on Friday night had by Saturday 1pm offloaded over a million 50kg bags of maize before the exercise was stopped.

Mututho claimed that smuggling of maize is rife at the port as many bags are being repackaged into World Food Programme and transported to Uganda for sale.

He questioned why the maize came without any labeling adding that GMO maize could easily get into the country if the issue is not addressed.

KEBs importation laws require import goods to be labeled clearly to indicate which sort of commodity it is, the content, amount, storage requirements and where it is meant for human or animal consumption.

Mututho faulted the move by cabinet to permit GMO maize into the country adding that there was maize in other parts of the country that could feed hungry Kenyans.

Koech said the two committees of parliament were mandated by the house last week to undertake investigations into whether there has been importation of GMO maize into the country this year and table their findings within two weeks.

?Parliament and the entire country has been treated to a drama of lies for a long time, we want to unearth the truth?, said the Mosop MP.

The committee took samples of the maize for testing to confirm whether the grains had any traces of GMO and levels of the content.

?We will take these samples for testing to an independent and very competent laboratory in the United States. We will also establish whether those behind this importation are part of politicians and business crooks who have been lying to Kenyans?, said Mututho.

According to Mututho, they would be traveling to Malawi and Zambia next week to establish whether the country is indeed the source of the maize and also find out if the maize there is GMO free.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   RAILA INSISTS NO GMO FOODS HAVE REACHED KENYA

SOURCE:  Nairobi Star, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Isaac Ongiri

URL:     http://www.nairobistar.com/national/national/34613-raila-under-fire-raila-insists-no-gmo-foods-in-kenya

DATE:    04.08.2011

SUMMARY: "PRIME Minister Raila Odinga was yesterday taken to task by MPs over the uncertainty surrounding the importation of genetically modified organisms Gfood. Raila insisted that though the government has authorised the importation of the GMO foods, no miller had so far imported it. [...] He defended the consumption of the GMO food arguing that advanced countries like the United States have authorised its consumption without fear."

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RAILA INSISTS NO GMO FOODS HAVE REACHED KENYA

PRIME Minister Raila Odinga was yesterday taken to task by MPs over the uncertainty surrounding the importation of genetically modified organisms GMO) food. Raila insisted that though the government has authorised the importation of the GMO foods, no miller had so far imported it.

The PM said that the National Cereals and Produce Board had been mopping up the available stocks of maize in the fertile parts of the country where harvesting is going on. ?The government has allowed the importation of GMO maize but even then we are yet to have any consignment shipped into the country,? Raila said. He defended the consumption of the GMO food arguing that advanced countries like the United States have authorised its consumption without fear.

The PM said that the World Health Organisation had conducted a risk assessment on all the GMO food currently in the world market and dismissed fears the consumption of the product was a health hazard. ?WHO lists maize, soya bean, squash, potato, oilseed rape and chicory as GM crops currently on the international market. These crops are traded in Argentina, Canada, South Africa, United States and EU countries,? he said.

Raila said the government resorted to the GMO maize because of the biting shortage of the ordinary maize across the country.To disprove claims that GMO products were already circulating in the country, Raila tabled confirmatory documents from the Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kephis and different state testing agencies as proof there was no importation of the GMO maize so far.

Raila was, however, contradicted by Naivasha MP John Mututho who listed a number vehicles he claimed were travelling from Mombasa to Isiolo with a consignment of the GMO foods.

Mututho insisted that GMOs are not fit for human consumption and challenged the PM to list countries where the products have been used for human consumptions. ?The GMO maize is already in Kenya and this is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly,? Mututho said.



                                  PART 4

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   RAILA ORDERED TO SPEAK ON GM MAIZE ALLEGATION

SOURCE:  Daily Nation, Kenya

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Raila+ordered+to+speak+on+GM+maize+allegation+/-/1056/1212546/-/ssy7whz/-/

DATE:    02.08.2011

SUMMARY: "Speaker Kenneth Marende has directed that Prime Minister Raila Odinga discuss the alleged presence of genetically modified food in the country when he makes his weekly address in Parliament on Wednesday. Mr Marende?s ruling followed claims by Naivasha MP John Mututho that genetically modified maize was being distributed in famine-hit areas. Mr Mututho, who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, said the GM maize is in Kinangop, Wajir, Mandera and Laikipa."

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RAILA ORDERED TO SPEAK ON GM MAIZE ALLEGATION

Speaker Kenneth Marende has directed that Prime Minister Raila Odinga discuss the alleged presence of genetically modified food in the country when he makes his weekly address in Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Marende?s ruling followed claims by Naivasha MP John Mututho that genetically modified maize was being distributed in famine-hit areas.

Mr Mututho, who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, said the GM maize is in Kinangop, Wajir, Mandera and Laikipa.

He has evidence

He claimed a week and a half ago that he has evidence from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service showing that vessels that brought food to Kenya tested positive for GMOs.

Mr Mututho had promised to substantiate his claims by tabling the relevant documents last Tuesday, but did not.

Ministers Sally Kosgei (Agriculture) and Hellen Sambili (Higher Education) also failed to make a statement to the House last Thursday as scheduled.

Mr Mututho raised the red flag about the delayed statements yesterday and said: ?I am ready to demonstrate that GMOs are being sold and the delay to reply is so that the maize is offloaded.?



                                  PART 5

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TITLE:   COMMERCE BEHIND PUSH FOR GMOS, PS NOW CLAIMS

SOURCE:  Nairobi Star, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Kerubo Lornah

URL:     http://www.nairobistar.com/local/coast/33447-ps-claims-trade-behind-push-for-gmo

DATE:    27.07.2011

SUMMARY: "The PS in the Ministry of State and national heritage Jacob Ole Miaron claimed yesterday that companies behind genetically modified organism are only interested in controlling global food supply. Ole Miaron said no one should try to market the GMO maize through philanthropy. Speaking to the Star, the PS refuted claims that only GMO can solve global food situation. ?This is a hollow argument. We know the really intention of the companies behind GMOs is business no matter what they say?"

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COMMERCE BEHIND PUSH FOR GMOS, PS NOW CLAIMS

The PS in the Ministry of State and national heritage Jacob Ole Miaron claimed yesterday that companies behind genetically modified organism (GMOs) are only interested in controlling global food supply. Ole Miaron said no one should try to market the GMO maize through philanthropy.

Speaking to the Star, the PS refuted claims that only GMO can solve global food situation.?This is a hollow argument. We know the really intention of the companies behind GMOs is business no matter what they say?, said the PS. He said these companies plan to control the global seed market.?In fact no one is now going to grow seeds without the consent of the two companies. They will control the flow of food and this will be a total disaster for people in poorer countries.

The PS advised that there was no reason why the country should rush to GMOs when the country has not yet fully optimized her agricultural potential.?We should continue to grow our food as we have been doing and stop venturing into technologies that may make us dependent on developers?, said the PS. He made it clear that he is not against the new technologies. He however reads mischief on the whole issue of GMOs, which he cited as not genuine.

Recently, there has been a big debate about the genetically modified organisms in Kenya. The debate was precipitated by a cabinet consent to millers to import GMO maize following prediction of failure of crops this year. Lobby groups however raised alarm alleging that GMO developers have exerted pressure on the government to allow importation of GMOs. The lobby group also read mischief in the recently enacted Biosafety Act of 2009 which they say serves the commercial interest of GMO developers.

Kenya is the fourth country in Africa to have laws meant to regulate GMO as required by the Cartegena Protocol of the convetion on biological diversity after South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt. But the country is yet to ratifiy the supplementary protocol of the CBD which came into force October 16, 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.

The supplementary protocol provides international rules and procedure on liability and redress for damage to biodiversity resulting from living modified organisms (LMO). As it stands now, a Kenyan will find it hard to sue for compensation should there be any damage, unless the country ratifies the supplementary protocol.



                                  PART 6

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TITLE:   THE CABINET MAY HAVE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED AN AGRICULTURAL DILEMMA

SOURCE:  Daily Nation, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Angeyo H. Kalambuka

URL:     http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/The+Cabinet+may+have+engineered+a+dilemma+/-/440808/1206882/-/hcjyan/-/

DATE:    24.07.2011

SUMMARY: "There are serious issues regarding the technical performance of genetically modified crops (GMCs) under African conditions, which indicate their benefits for Kenya?s poor farmers are doubtful. Genetic transformation is just one wrench in the biotechnology toolbox. There are many others which offer an opportunity to research and put development to good use in our troubled agriculture."

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THE CABINET MAY HAVE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED AN AGRICULTURAL DILEMMA

Dr Kalambuka teaches Physics at the University of Nairobi

By now, Kenyans must have drawn useful lessons from the Cabinet?s decision to allow the importation of genetically modified maize (read crops).

In attacking science and smallholder agriculture, for that is what the decision does, the Cabinet is not just biting the hand that feeds them, but also, that which tries to feed those most in need.

This is either a case of wobbling scientific illiteracy in government or of covert State dysfunction. What, in the first place, is the cause of our perennial food shortages?

There are serious issues regarding the technical performance of genetically modified crops (GMCs) under African conditions, which indicate their benefits for Kenya?s poor farmers are doubtful.

Genetic transformation is just one wrench in the biotechnology toolbox. There are many others which offer an opportunity to research and put development to good use in our troubled agriculture.

However, the research should not begin with the introduction of GMCs. GMCs are the product of recombinant DNA technology ? the technique of isolating a gene from one organism and inserting it into the DNA of another organism to impart novel characteristics.

Its power, however, lies in the ability to transfer genetic information from unprecedented sources such as algae, bacteria and viruses to plants, or to move genes between sexually incompatible species.

For example, a crop can be engineered to produce its own pesticides, to have drought tolerance, to have elevated nutritional quality, or even to produce vaccines (?pharming?).

Proponents of GMCs argue, quite understandably, that this technology has a potential to increase food production, reduce the use of synthetic pesticides, and actually make foods safer and healthier.

Indeed, there are a number of constraints in our agricultural productivity imposed by biotic stress from plant diseases, insects and weeds.

Transgenic herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant crops are specifically designed to target these constraints.

The proponents point to the adoption of transgenic insect-resistant maize and herbicide-resistant soybean by South African farmers as proof of their relevance in at least one African country. But do these proponents reflect on the needs and aspirations of the majority farmers in Africa?

Most of the research on GMCs is conducted by commercial enterprises that hold intellectual property rights on their inventions. How will poor farmers afford GM seeds?

GMCs will benefit only a few rich farmers. Even more worrisome is the fact that the market for GM seeds will be dominated by a small clique of powerful private companies.

It is important that we do not just become recipients of finished products, but full participants in the generation and application of carefully tailored agricultural technologies.

Technologies policed to us on ?take it? or ?leave it? basis should be rejected. Market-driven genetic engineering research is unlikely to address the really urgent needs of ?orphan? crops such as cassava, plantain, yam, sweet potato, sorghum and millet, on which a very significant proportion of our people depend for food.

Introducing GMCs will definitely steer farmers away from crop diversification and help to maintain a system dominated by monocultures. We have traditionally relied on crop diversity for pest, disease control and soil management.

Central to the debate on GMCs, however, should be our readiness to deal with the many complex ecological, agronomic and economic implications of this technology on our agriculture.

Though the risks are event- and context-specific (for example, ecological risks identified in Canada may not be relevant to risks in Kenya due to gene flow issues), deployment of GMCs in large monocultures poses a number of ecological risks.

These include the spread of transgenes to related weeds or conspecifics through crop-weed hybridisation; the rapid evolution of resistance of pests; and the risk of creating new harmful plant viruses through wild viruses hijacking genes from engineered crops.

Since hardly any research has been conducted on the ecological impact of GMCs on small-holder farming systems in Kenya, it is everyone?s guess what the damage would be on the complex environments in which Kenyan farmers grow a multitude of crops.

It should be remembered that, unlike chemical contamination, genetic contamination cannot be recalled.



                                  PART 7

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   LAWMAKERS JOIN OPPOSITION TO GMOS

SOURCE:  Capital FM News, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Catherine Karongo

URL:     http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2011/07/20/lawmakers-join-opposition-to-gmos/

DATE:    20.06.2011

SUMMARY: "The Cabinet decision to allow the importation of Genetically Modified foods has kicked up a storm, with a section of Members of Parliament insisting that the produce is not safe. Legislators Joshua Kutuny, John Pesa and Charles Keter on Wednesday claimed that there was a deliberate attempt by some members of government to force GMO maize into the market in the pretext of addressing a food shortage. [...] ?What action did the government take last year when there was bumper maize harvest in parts of the country?? posed Mr Kutuny, while his Belgut counterpart Mr Keter questioned the sincerity of those pushing for the importation of GMO maize."

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LAWMAKERS JOIN OPPOSITION TO GMOS

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 ? The Cabinet decision to allow the importation of Genetically Modified foods (GMOs) has kicked up a storm, with a section of Members of Parliament insisting that the produce is not safe.

Legislators Joshua Kutuny, John Pesa and Charles Keter on Wednesday claimed that there was a deliberate attempt by some members of government to force GMO maize into the market in the pretext of addressing a food shortage.

Last week, the Cabinet approved the importation of GMO maize to ease the current hunger situation experienced in parts of the country.

?What action did the government take last year when there was bumper maize harvest in parts of the country?? posed Mr Kutuny, while his Belgut counterpart Mr Keter questioned the sincerity of those pushing for the importation of GMO maize.

?Maybe some multinationals are using some other Kenyans to influence the importation because of money anyway,? Mr Keter opined.

?All we need is to subsidise costs for the farmers, let us get other methods of farming and then Kenya should be able to produce food which will feed Kenyans,? remarked Migori Mr Pesa.

An environmental lawyer Benson Ochieng? told Capital News that there were a lot of legal concerns with GMO?s.

?You cannot vouch for the safety and health of it, and the precautionary principle basically states that we would rather err that this thing was wrong if it wasn?t wrong than be sorry that we thought it is right but then it is not right,? Mr Ochieng? said.

He said if the country was to allow production of GMO as is in the bio safety act, it may create dependency on specific manufacturing companies.

?The companies that manufacture these GMO?s are able to introduce certain manipulative activity within the gene so that the seed can only grow once. It creates a dependency that farmers have to keep going back to the same companies to buy the seeds year in year out,? he said.

?There is also a danger in the ownership of biotechnology products. Definitely the companies that produce these transgenic seeds are interested in recouping their cost of investment in that but more importantly they are interested in making profits,? the environmental lawyer added.

He was of the opinion that the National Bio safety Authority lacked the experience and capacity to deal with the issue of GMO?s.

?What we fear is that if this technology is not properly managed, is not properly contained then there is the real possibility that those technologies can wipe away the seeds and the gene pool that are adapted to our local conditions,? he said.

?Can they prove that they have the capacity. We have an institution in this country called KEPHIS which is supposed to have officers at border points inspecting whether there is any foreign material that is coming into the country either in form of plant or animal but how many times do you get a feeling that such an institution exists? We have such porous borders that we cannot even monitor illegal immigration into the country how will we be able to monitor the safety of GMOs?? he questioned adding that technology was supposed to bring positive benefits.

However, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) Managing Director Dr James Onsando dismissed the health and environmental concerns and said that the technology had been tested and it was safe.

?This entire hullabaloo is misinformation. It is propaganda and instilling fear in people with no scientific backup and I am speaking as a scientist who has capacity to understand the development of GMO and clearly there is no scientific merit,? Dr Onsando asserted.

He said the technology was acceptable around the globe.

?A lot of bio safety research is done before its approval to make sure it does not cause harm to humans or cause allergies,? the KEPHIS boss said.

He said that GMO maize was 99 percent conventional maize and one percent was the specific gene that has been introduced.



                                  PART 8

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GM MAIZE IMPORTATION CONTROVERSY RAGES ON

SOURCE:  The Standard, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Peter Orengo & George Olwenya

URL:     http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000039265&cid=4

DATE:    20.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Controversy over the importation of genetically modified maize deepened after some MPs claimed the Government had allowed a miller to import before the gazettement of biosafety regulations. The MPs, mostly from the country?s bread basket of Rift Valley, said by bringing in GM maize, farmers will have no market for their produce. ?Why is the Government intent on exposing its citizens to harmful effects of GM maize yet farmers still have surplus maize?? said Cherangani MP Joshua Kutuny."

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GM MAIZE IMPORTATION CONTROVERSY RAGES ON

Controversy over the importation of genetically modified (GM) maize deepened after some MPs claimed the Government had allowed a miller to import before the gazettement of biosafety regulations.

The MPs, mostly from the country?s bread basket of Rift Valley, said by bringing in GM maize, farmers will have no market for their produce.

?Why is the Government intent on exposing its citizens to harmful effects of GM maize yet farmers still have surplus maize?? said Cherangani MP Joshua Kutuny.

His Belgut counterpart Charles Keter argued that the Sh15 billion the Government plans to use to import GM maize is enough to empower farmers to produce non-GM maize.

?There is more to this GM maize issue than meets the eye. The Government has been aware of the surplus maize produced by farmers in the Rift Valley and western Kenya, but has refused to buy it,? said Keter.

Migori MP John Pesa, who is also a member of the Agricultural Parliamentary Committee, claimed the maize being sold to Kenya is unfit for human consumption.

The MPs vowed to join the anti-GMO civil society groups to fight the importation of such maize.

The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture John Mututho claimed the country has no capacity to handle genetically engineered crops.

He said the Government should have first set up clearing facilities at all ports of entry that are fully equipped with modern laboratories and qualified personnel.

?Those who have been pushing for the publication of the law to allow importation of GMO are maize cartels eager to cash in on the current drought. What has happened is not scientifically proven. We are going to expose millions of Kenyans to the wrong food,? said Mututho.

Organised cartel

An attempt by the Agriculture committee to investigate the maize was stopped by what Mututho called ?a highly organised cartel?.

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has called for sober debate on the GM issue.

The Federation?s Secretary General Stephen Mutoro said Cofek supports the importation of GM maize, as a stopgap measure to help starving Kenyans but not as a Government policy.

? We are considering a legal interpretation of the Cabinet decision to approve the importation,? said Mutoro.

On Monday, farmers in the North Rift told the Parliamentary Committee on Food and Cost of Living that the GM maize would hurt them, as the commodity would flood the markets.

Jackson Kibor, a farmer in Uasin Gishu, blamed unscrupulous businessmen for the importation of the commodity. Another farmer Patrick Chepkwony said the introduction of the GM maize was an insult to the local farmers and said the maize could pose a health risk to Kenyans.

Meanwhile, on Monday Lands Minister James Orengo claimed the Cabinet did not approve importation of the Maize.

Consequences

Orengo maintained that the undertaking could be a plan by certain individuals and grain cartels that do not care about the consequences and the risks of endangering the lives of Kenyans.

?We have not discussed or endorsed the importation of GM maize as a Cabinet and whoever made the announcement cannot purport to be speaking on behalf of the Government,? said Orengo.

The process towards a Biosafety Act was started when Parliament approved the Biosafety Bill (2008), and the President assented to it in February 2009.

This was followed by the establishment of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), to exercise general supervision and control over transfer, handling and the use of GMOs.

The biosafety regulations have already been gazetted, making NBA a lame duck and raising fears that Kenyans could be consuming GMOs, which have not been certified.

In Africa countries that have so far embraced genetically modified foods are South Africa, Egypt and Burkina Faso.



                                  PART 9

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   ADVICE ON GENE MAIZE IGNORED

SOURCE:  Daily Nation, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Gerald Andae

URL:     http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Advice+on+gene+maize+ignored++/-/1056/1204360/-/guvf5g/-/

DATE:    19.08.2011

SUMMARY: "The government ignored recommendations by the House committee on the rising cost of living in regard to importation of genetically modified maize. The committee?s chairman, Mr Ababu Namwamba, said this on Tuesday on the second day of a tour of the North Rift town of Eldoret to find out the factors that led to increased cost of farm produce. His team held a discussion with farmers. ?In our preliminary report, we advised the government to consult with the Kenyans first before giving a green light to the importation of GMO in the country,? said Mr Namwamba."

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ADVICE ON GENE MAIZE IGNORED

The government ignored recommendations by the House committee on the rising cost of living in regard to importation of genetically modified maize.

The committee?s chairman, Mr Ababu Namwamba, said this on Tuesday on the second day of a tour of the North Rift town of Eldoret to find out the factors that led to increased cost of farm produce.

His team held a discussion with farmers. ?In our preliminary report, we advised the government to consult with the Kenyans first before giving a green light to the importation of GMO in the country,? said Mr Namwamba.

He accused the government of not exploiting the three options given to it before considering the imports.

The MP said the report had recommended that the government weigh the option of asking Kenyans if they preferred yellow maize to GMO, but the government ignored that.

?The committee established that the maize that might be most accessible currently on the international market would be genetically modified, and the government had to decide whether to import or not after duly informing Kenyans of that decision,? said Mr Namwamba.

Mr Namwamba noted that the issue of GMO was a controversial one and though there were unfounded fears about the maize, the government should not have ignored the raised concerns.

?I have heard Kenyans complaining that GMOs paralyse the reproductive system, personally I do not know but government should not ignore such concerns,? he said.

The preliminary report that contains 21 emergency recommendations was presented to the government on June 7 while the final report will be tabled in Parliament on August 11.

The Budalangi MP said that his committee was yet to confirm whether the consignment that arrived in the country was GMO or normal maize, and asked the government to consider importing non-GMO maize from Zambia and Malawi.

Mr Namwamba, who was accompanied by committee member and Kimilili MP Dr Eseli Simiyu, Eldoret South MP Peris Simam and KFA director Kipkorir Menjo, said they had put restrictions on the report to allow the importation of six million bags only but the government allowed businessmen to import without limits.

Would be harvesting

?We advised the government that North Rift would be harvesting between June and July and we wanted a given number of bags of maize to be imported in order to cushion farmers from the drop in price of maize,? he said.



                                  PART 10

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GMO DEBATE PICKS MOMENTUM

SOURCE:  Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya (KBC)

AUTHOR:  Kamau Mbite

URL:     http://www.kbc.co.ke/news.asp?nid=71394

DATE:    19.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Debate on the importation of Genetically Modified maize continued Tuesday with legislators claiming that the importation of GMO maize is a money minting strategy by government officials. The legislators now want the ministry of agriculture to table government research on GMO maize in parliament. Meanwhile consumer federation of Kenya says lab test indicate Kenyans are already consuming GMO maize."

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GMO DEBATE PICKS MOMENTUM

Legislators claim that importation of GMO maize is a money minting strategy by government officials

Debate on the importation of Genetically Modified maize continued Tuesday with legislators claiming that the importation of GMO maize is a money minting strategy by government officials.

The legislators now want the ministry of agriculture to table government research on GMO maize in parliament.

Meanwhile consumer federation of Kenya says lab test indicate Kenyans are already consuming GMO maize.

Food security has been a thorny issue for a long time and thousands of Kenyans continue to starve due to food shortage in the country.

To mitigate against hunger government on Thursday last week allowed the importation of genetically modified foods.

But this decision has caused ripples in many quotas with legislators now arguing it is a money minting strategy by government officials.

Cherangani MP Joshua Kutuny claims that the move to import maize at a time when farmers in Western and Riftvalley the food basket regions are harvesting their maize is aimed at crippling the sector as farmers would lack market for their maize.

They say that the 15 billion shillings set aside for the importation would have been better utilized in creating an enabling environment for farmers by subsidizing fertilizer and availing seed on time.

But even as the debate continues the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) has said that the GMO Maize is already in the country after laboratory test.

The federation now says it is considering legal interpretation of the decision by Cabinet to approve the importation of GMO maize.

Parliamentary debate

Meanwhile Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo is seeking a ministerial statement over the intention to import GM Maize into the country.

Gumbo wants to know if any research has been done on the GMOs and what are the possible consequences of consuming such foods.

He is also seeking to know which other countries are consuming GM Maize and if Kenya has any regulation capacity to monitor the movement of such foods.

The legislator also wants parliament informed of the amount of quantity of the GM Maize that would be imported into the country.

The ministry of agriculture is expected to respond to the matter next week.



                                  PART 11

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   ORENGO TEARS INTO PLAN TO IMPORT GMOS

SOURCE:  Capital FM News, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Catherine Karongo

URL:     http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2011/07/19/orengo-tears-into-plan-to-import-gmos/

DATE:    19.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Controversy over a Cabinet decision to allow the importation of Genetically Modified maize has deepened, with James Orengo taking sides with Public Health Minister Beth Mugo in opposing the move. The Lands Minister said the resolution was not reached in the Cabinet meeting he attended last week. ?The decision to bring into the country GMO maize is not a government undertaking,? Mr Orengo said on Monday contradicting a Thursday statement from State House Nairobi, which indicated the Cabinet had resolved to authorise millers to import GMO?s."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


ORENGO TEARS INTO PLAN TO IMPORT GMOS

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 ? Controversy over a Cabinet decision to allow the importation of Genetically Modified (GMO) maize has deepened, with James Orengo taking sides with Public Health Minister Beth Mugo in opposing the move.

The Lands Minister said the resolution was not reached in the Cabinet meeting he attended last week.

?The decision to bring into the country GMO maize is not a government undertaking,? Mr Orengo said on Monday contradicting a Thursday statement from State House Nairobi, which indicated the Cabinet had resolved to authorise millers to import GMO?s.

The GMO maize that will be produced into flour is expected in the country to help ease the hunger situation.

?The Cabinet agreed that only millers will be allowed to import GMO maize. That GMO maize must be for production into flour,? last week?s Presidential Press Service statement read in part.

?No GMO maize should be used as seeds under any circumstances,? the statement added.

However Mr Orengo alleged that the planned importation could be a plan by certain individuals and grain cartels that did not care about the consequences and the risks of endangering the lives of Kenyans.

The Minister explained that he attended the Cabinet meeting which supposedly made the decision but the issue of GMO maize was never discussed or passed.

Speaking in his Ugenya constituency, he said he was only aware of a Cabinet sub-committee established to look into the issue of escalating maize prices with a view to bringing it down.

He admitted that the government was feeling the effects of the high maize prices but GMO maize could not be used as an alternative to finding a solution towards maize shortages.

The minister appealed to local farmers to double their efforts towards production of maize and other food commodities so that the country may not rely on importation of grain and other food stuff.

The Cabinet, which is the government?s highest decision making organ, is reported to have made the decision to import GMO maize on Thursday with strict guidelines that it must be certified by the National Biodiversity Authority.

However Public Health Minister Beth Mugo has maintained that GMO?s should not be allowed into the country, saying that the country needed to first exhaust the organic produce in countries like Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania.

?My interest is that any food consumed must be safe for Kenyans,? she said.