Lift GMO ban for food security, Kenyan MPs ask

Date Posted: 
Monday, August 31, 2015

By Kibiwott Korros

NAIROBI: MPs from seven committees have backed scientists and asked the Government to lift the ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

If allowed, all parts of the country will have a chance to grow maize, including areas with severe scorching conditions like Marsabit, Turkana, Wajir and Mandera.

While explaining to the MPs how the biotechnology maize would be adopted, Dr Richard Oduor, the head of Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Kenyatta University, said the scientists would observe the traits of specific plants growing in these dry areas like the cactus.

The MPs were drawn from Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives, Education, Research and Technology, Health, Environment and Natural Resources, Finance Planning and Trade committees.

Dr Oduor said scientists would identify genes of plants in dry areas and transfer them to plants like maize which are susceptible to harsh climatic conditions using biotechnology.

An example, he said, only a gene resistant to the sun would be removed from a cactus tree and inserted to the maize crop. "We will not have made the maize plant a cactus but just removed the gene that is resistant to the sun," he told the MPs during a meeting at the university on Friday.

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