GMOs can help Kenya alleviate hunger – expert

August 13, 2013
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Zhulieta Willbrand on Tuesday said the foods do not cause any harm if properly handled/FILE
Zhulieta Willbrand on Tuesday said the foods do not cause any harm if properly handled/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – An international Trade Specialist with the United States Department of Agriculture has renewed the bid to push for Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) in Kenya saying they are safe for consumption.

Zhulieta Willbrand on Tuesday said the foods do not cause any harm if properly regulated.

“The products have been around for a while and consumed for a while and there has not been a legitimate case of humans or animals affected as a result of consuming the modified foods,” said Willbrand.

Debate surrounding GMOs took centre stage last year with concerns emerging that it causes infertility and cancer.

Speaking to Capital FM News, Willbrand said Kenya has the capability to do research on the benefits of the foods before they make conclusions.

“Kenya has the human capacity to not only regulate but also develop modes of conducting researches to ascertain the safety of the foods before disbursing them for consumption,” added Willbrand.

She added that the GMO foods are a cheaper means of feeding Kenyans especially in the school feeding programmes.

In her recommendations, she explained that relevant government institutions need to streamline the sector.

“Regulations need to be formulated so as to ensure that technology is used in an appropriate way. Another area to be regarded is to build capacity in institutions such as the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) as they have the capacity to do sufficient research,” explained Willbrand.

The adoption of the GMO technology has been dogged by controversy over safety concerns, the latest being triggered by a recent French scientific research.

In September 2012 a report dubbed Seralini Report was published to show the effects of GMO foods.

It was based on results of a series of experiments that involved feeding rats GMO corn and the rodents developed signs and symptoms associated to cancer.

After the report was published, the paper was refuted by many food standard agencies as lacking in scientific procedures.

As a result of this, Russia and Kenya opted to put a ban on GMO foods however after a few weeks of researchRussia lifted the ban.

Kenya has been challenged to lift the ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for the country to achieve its potential in food production.

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