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GMO-FREE PRODUCTS & POLICY: Kenya lifts import duties on non-GE maize



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   TREASURY THROWS OPEN IMPORTATION OF MAIZE

SOURCE:  Daily Nation, Kenya

AUTHOR:  Dave Opiyo

URL:     http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Treasury+throws+open+importation+of+maize+/-/1056/1195284/-/6max8t/-/

DATE:    05.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Treasury made the sudden about-turn on Tuesday to speed up the supply of grain to ease a serious shortage. Previously, only registered millers had been given a six-month window to ship in maize supplies duty free. In a public notice on Tuesday, Finance PS Joseph Kinyua said: ?The facility is (now) open to everybody.? But this will not apply to those wishing to import genetically modified grains which, according to the Treasury, is restricted to registered millers and upon approval of the National Biosafety Authority."

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TREASURY THROWS OPEN IMPORTATION OF MAIZE

Treasury made the sudden about-turn on Tuesday to speed up the supply of grain to ease a serious shortage.

Previously, only registered millers had been given a six-month window to ship in maize supplies duty free.

In a public notice on Tuesday, Finance PS Joseph Kinyua said: ?The facility is (now) open to everybody.?

But this will not apply to those wishing to import genetically modified grains which, according to the Treasury, is restricted to registered millers and upon approval of the National Biosafety Authority.

Legal notice

?The importation of maize on a duty free basis runs from June 10 to December 31 and does not require a legal notice. All customs entry points have been advised accordingly,? Mr Kinyua said.

The PS said approval of the level of discoloration of the imported maize will be done by the Kenya Bureau of Standards in consultation with the ministry of Health and Public Sanitation.

Underproduction of maize last year is forcing Kenya to seek supplies from external markets.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Kenya will have to import about 2.3 million tonnes of cereals to bridge a deficit over the 2011/12 window.

Preliminary forecasts show the country?s 2011 maize harvest at 2.5 million tonnes, about 11 per cent short of last year?s.

This has seen the price of maize shoot up in the past few months, leaving most households feeling the pinch as the commodity is a staple food.

Consumers have been paying between Sh130 and Sh140 for a 2kg packet of maize flour, up from Sh75 at the beginning of the year.

On Tuesday, millers welcomed the government?s decision. ?It is a good move?anyone is now free to import maize into the country,? said Cereal Millers Association chairman Diamond Lalji on Tuesday.

?We are currently getting the maize from Zambia and Malawi,? he said.

On GM maize, Mr Lalji said: ?The government wants to ensure that if the grain is brought into the country, millers will be required to mill, label and distribute it carefully so that it does not find its way onto the farms,? he said.

Last week, the Agriculture ministry said the first consignment of imported maize could hit the market this week.

Agriculture secretary Wilson Songa said a 90-kg bag of maize now costs about Sh5,000 in Kisumu. He said prices were expected to come down when the imports arrive.

He said a combination of imported maize and alternative foods should see the country through to August when the next maize harvest is expected.



                                  PART 2

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

TITLE:   MILLERS BRUSH OFF CLAIMS OF GMO CEREAL IMPORTS

SOURCE:  Daily Nation, Kenya

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Millers+brush+off+claims+of+GMO+cereal+imports+/-/1056/1194580/-/w8qjuiz/-/index.html

DATE:    04.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Millers have denied claims that they imported genetically modified maize. Instead, they said, the cargo was normal grain from Zambia and Malawi. [...] ?No GM maize was imported. This is non-GMO maize awaiting clearance at the port,? he said. The denial follows protests in Nairobi by the African Biodiversity Network and Unga Revolution who are pushing the government not to allow GM crops into the country."

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MILLERS BRUSH OFF CLAIMS OF GMO CEREAL IMPORTS

Millers have denied claims that they imported genetically modified maize.

Instead, they said, the cargo was normal grain from Zambia and Malawi.

Millers Association chairman Diamond Lalji said the maize was awaiting Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) clearance.

?No GM maize was imported. This is non-GMO maize awaiting clearance at the port,? he said.

The denial follows protests in Nairobi by the African Biodiversity Network and Unga Revolution who are pushing the government not to allow GM crops into the country.

The demonstrators said GM crops were not the solution to food insecurity.

But Mr Lalji said there was need for food experts, the parliamentary committee on Agriculture, traders and farmers to meet and share views based on research about the pros and cons of such crops.

?Let us not subject matters touching on food to mob lynching at such a time when the country has an acute food shortage,? he said.

He said millers were still waiting for regulations over importation of GM maize, which he said were gazetted last Friday, by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA).

?Though the guidelines have been gazetted by the relevant authority, we are not in a rush to import the GM maize because of the perception that it is not good for the country,? said Mr Lalji.

He said millers will only consider importing GM maize if the stocks from Zambia and Malawi failed to meet demand.

?If Zambia and Malawi restrict exports to meet their own needs, we will have no other alternative but to turn to South Africa for GM maize.?

Mr Lalji said millers had ordered 55,000 tonnes.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   UNGA GROUP OF KENYA CLIMBS TO TWO-WEEK HIGH ON MODIFIED FOODS

SOURCE:  Bloomberg, USA

AUTHOR:  Eric Ombok

URL:     http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-05/unga-group-of-kenya-climbs-to-two-week-high-on-modified-foods.html

DATE:    05.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Unga Group Ltd., a Kenyan grain miller, rose to its highest level in two weeks after the government approved the use of genetically modified foods as drought damages crops in the East African country. The stock closed trading 5.6 percent higher at 10.45 shillings as of 3:00 p.m. in the capital, Nairobi, the strongest level since June 21. Kenya enacted a law allowing the use of genetically modified organisms and products, including food, which took effect this month, Hellen Sambili, the minister of higher education, said in a government notice published on July 1."

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UNGA GROUP OF KENYA CLIMBS TO TWO-WEEK HIGH ON MODIFIED FOODS

Unga Group Ltd., a Kenyan grain miller, rose to its highest level in two weeks after the government approved the use of genetically modified foods as drought damages crops in the East African country. The stock closed trading 5.6 percent higher at 10.45 shillings as of 3:00 p.m. in the capital, Nairobi, the strongest level since June 21. Kenya enacted a law allowing the use of genetically modified organisms and products, including food, which took effect this month, Hellen Sambili, the minister of higher education, said in a government notice published on July 1. The Star newspaper reported the information today. ?Unga had closed six of its processing plants so it means they will have a respite because the maize shortage is really biting,? George Bodo, an equity strategist at Nairobi-based Apex Africa Ltd., a brokerage, said in a phone interview today. ?This is a knee-jerk reaction from the market after the announcement.? Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared the drought a na
 tional disaster on May 30. More than 10 million people living in parts of Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda are facing the worst drought conditions in six decades, according to the United Nations.