Kenya gets NEPAD backing on bio safety

October 12, 2010 12:00 am

, NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 12 – Kenya can look forward to logistical and technological support from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in its quest to develop and commercialise bio-safety technology.

Betty Kiplagat, a Program officer in charge of Legal and Policy at the African Union Organisation said that NEPAD hails Kenya\’s willingness to promote science and technology in combating social and economic problems plaguing its people.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Cartagena Protocol (Cop-MOP5) conference in Nagoya, Japan, Ms Kiplagat pledged NEPAD’s support in ensuring that Kenya has mechanisms and regulations in place to protect its citizens and the bio-diversity.

She called on the government to embark on the grassroots campaign to increase public awareness of the technology.

She pointed out that it was important for the government to translate regulations of the bio-safety act into Kiswahili and other local languages that could be understood by the ordinary folk.

Ms Kiplagat said by doing this, the myths and untruths being propagated against bio-safety technology can be demystified thus enhancing information flow in the awareness campaign.

On Monday, more than 150 member States to the Cartagena Protocol on Bio safety adopted a supplementary agreement on liability and redress in the ongoing conference.

The parties agreed on means to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in situations where the organisms might have adverse effects on biodiversity and human health.

The Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology William Ruto said that the Kenyan delegates had to go into intense lobbying, negotiations and deliberations to have its position adopted by the member States that are signatories to the protocol.

“It is our position that each country be allowed to deal with liability and redress issues concerning GMO according to the laws of that particular country,” he said, adding that the Kenyan delegation burned the midnight oil in Nagoya Japan to ensure that other member states were made to understand the importance of the supplementary deal.

Mr Ruto said that the new agreement will be instrumental in ensuring food security to the over one billion starving population of the world, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He castigated Western countries opposed to the adoption on the technology in food production saying that countries whose population were food secure had no moral authority to block moves aimed at feeding the world’s hungry.

The minister revealed that he would soon be gazetting guidelines on how to set up standards for use of GMO technology in Kenya to promote early maturing, disease and pest free varieties and drought resistant crops for arid and semi-arid areas.


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