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Monday, 25 January 2016

Kenya: Biosafety authority gives nod to GM maize, cotton

The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has recommended the lifting of a ban on imports of genetically modified organisms as the body prepares to decide on applications by companies, including Monsanto, for environmental release of their products in the country.Kenya imposed a ban on GM crops in November 2012, citing concerns that the organisms pose a danger to public health. The decision locked out exporters including South Africa, the biggest maize producer on the continent.“We recommend lifting the ban,” National Biosafety Authority chief executive Willy Tonui said in an interview this week in Nairobi. “We now have border control, surveillance and a strong regulatory system,” he added.Kenya is Africa’s largest per-capita maize consumer and the second-biggest seeds market, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Annual consumption is estimated at 103 kilogrammes per person, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In 2011, Kenya became the first African nation to report an outbreak of the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease, which can wipe out farmers’ entire crops, the FAO says on its website. Syngenta AG, the Swiss insecticide and seed maker, announced plans in 2014 to build an Africa research centre in Kenya this year. With Bt maize, farmers can improve yields while reducing the use of insecticide, benefiting the environment.

Source: Mediamax