In a bold, historic move, the Kenya NBA (National Biosafety Authority) has granted approval (http://www.biosafetykenya.go.ke/images/Public_Notice.pdf ) for environmental release of Bt Maize.
History in the making: WEMA team submits application to NBA on April 2, 2015
This approval, which was purely based on evidence provided by the applicants, culminates a long journey that started in April 2, 2015 when the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) submitted an application for approval of environmental release of the insect protected (Bt) maize in Kenya to the Authority.
According to Dr Eliud Kireger, KALRO Director General, and Dr Denis Kyetere, AATF Executive Director, the approval will enable movement to the next step of NPTs (National Performance Trials). NPTs will lead to identification of suitable varieties that will be availed to farmers affected by stem borers.
WEMA drought tolerant maize farmer in her demonstration farm, Eastern Kenya.
In this opinion piece, Ian Godwin, a professor in plant molecular genetics at the University of Queensland, Australia, writes that the adoption of genetically modified (GM)
technology has reduced pesticide use by 37 percent, increased crop yields by 22
percent, and increased farmer profits by 68 percent. The yield and profit gains
in developing countries, he adds, are considerably higher than in developed
countries. Organic farmers, he continues, care for their land and want to
balance their impact on the land. But organic farms use more land and labor to
produce the same yield as conventional agriculture. Perhaps, Godwin suggests,
the organic industry should take another look at GM crops, as they have the
potential to improve yield and resistance, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We have GM crop plants with enhanced nutritional qualities, pest and disease
resistance, larger grain sizes and the ability to produce more food with lower
fertiliser inputs. Many of these plants have been modified with only a few DNA
letters altered from the ‘wild’ genes,” he writes. “Adoption would massively
improve the productivity of organic agriculture, and the productivity boost
would help make organic food price competitive. So let’s talk about GM
Have you eaten organic food today? If you have eaten anything, then technically you’ve eaten organic. By definition, all food is organic; it just may not have been grown under industry standards, such as Australian Certified Organic (ACO).
Most people who choose to eat certified organic do so because they believe it is cleaner and greener, or chemical free. But the most modern cultivated plants are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and so are precluded from being certified organic.
The Australian Organic organisation says that’s because there are no long-term studies on human health. Prince Charles has warned that the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops is the biggest environmental disaster of all time.