What is in this article?:
- Kenya may spearhead GM crops in Africa
- Misbegotten GM food ban
- Sub-Saharan Africa lags the world in food production. While farmers in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S. have jumped at the chance to take advantage of high-yielding GM crops, farmers in Kenya and its neighbors have been relegated to the sidelines.
Misbegotten GM food ban
Kenyatta’s cabinet, guided by Agriculture Secretary nominee Kosgey cannot move swiftly enough to overturn the previous government’s misbegotten ban on GM food. It may be the single most significant step they can take to improve our nation’s food security.
They should accept what respected organizations ranging from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Britain’s Royal Society have said for a long time: GM food is safe to grow and eat. We have nothing to fear from it—and so much to gain.
Sub-Saharan Africa lags the world in food production. While farmers in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States have jumped at the chance to take advantage of high-yielding GM crops, farmers in Kenya and its neighbors have been relegated to the sidelines.
Last year, Sudan became only the fourth African country to permit the planting of GM crops, following the leads of Burkina Faso, Egypt, and South Africa.
The boost in farm productivity alone is enough to justify Kenya’s adoption of crop biotechnology, because it would help us feed a growing population. But the benefits would not stop there. Improved access to GM seeds would create jobs by supplying the raw materials for our textile industries. Everyone would benefit.
It would be great to see Kenya join the global biotech movement. Even better, though, would be to watch a truly forward-looking Kenya not merely join, but lead.
Kenyatta and Kosgey should refuse to let our continent continue to fall behind the rest of the world. With the proper leadership, they can show Africa the way to a better tomorrow—and a future in which we enjoy true food security.
Gilbert Arap Bor grows corn (maize), vegetables and dairy cows on a small-scale farm of 25 acres in Kapseret, near Eldoret, Kenya. He also teaches at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Eldoret campus. Mr. Bor is the 2011 Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award recipient and a member of the Truth About Trade & Technology Global Farmer Network (www.truthabouttrade.org).
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