MPs urged to block Biosafety Bill

September 11, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, September 11 – Opposition against the Bio-safety Bill continued Thursday when a section of campaigners petitioned Members of Parliament (MPs) to shoot down the proposal.

At a workshop on Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) at a Nairobi hotel , bio-diversity experts said the Bill does not represent the views of ordinary citizens, particularly the farmers.

Wanjiru Kamau from the Kenya Bio-diversity Coalition said there was need to re-draft the Bill as it was likely to expose farmers to more risks.

“How it was developed was wrong. Mainly science and boardroom driven. It did not include consumers and farmers who are likely to have the biggest impact of using GMOs in the field,” she said and added that the Bill contains numerous content flaws.

Wanjiru urged MPs to send the Bill back to experts to include all the contentious issues.

“Until these issues are included, it will not be a proper Bill for the people,” she said of the proposal that has already gone through the first reading in Parliament.

They are proposing that the proposal be incorporated with the Bio-technology Bill 2008 which, they contend, is all inclusive.

Wanjiru also urged the government to restrict itself from importing products that may be genetically modified.

She said Kenyans were being subjected to high risks by being forced to consume maize imported from other countries which may be genetically modified.

“We need to be careful in bringing in any GM products particularly now that we have a maize deficit,” she said.

Another representative of the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM-Kenya) Zachary Makanya urged the government to protect farmers against seed dumping.

He said many farmers were using low quality seeds, which were to blame for the low food production.

Makanya also blamed food insecurity in the country to lack of proper education to Kenyan farmers who are, in most cases, unable to choose quality seeds.

“They (farmers) lack proper education on alternative means of farming and irrigation systems which can improve food security in the country,” he said.


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