Make no mistake, GMO foods are a matter of health and safety. We say no to them not only in Kenya but within the East African Community region!
However, for the short period before our next harvests and if the GM maize is the only solution needed to save the lives of those dying from hunger, we have no problem with importation of the same for emergency response.
The position of Cofek is that the debate needs to be undertaken soberly and from a point of information. Cofek would support the importation of GM maize if it is a stop gap measure to address those dying of hunger but not as a general policy to legalise GM foods.
In any case, GM has not managed to increase production in its over 20 years of operation elsewhere which brings us to the conclusion that the food insecurity being experienced is an issue of food distribution rather than food production.
What we find suspicious and unacceptable is for some well-connected individuals to have taken advantage of the current food shortage to drag the GM foods debate to the Cabinet for endorsement. The key agenda here is for the selfish gains for a select few politico-entrepreneurs and businesses at the expenses of the people of Kenya.
The truth will soon come out. First, that a number of cereal millers have scandalously been processing mixed GM and GM maize and later offering them to unsuspecting consumers.
That way, they have been evading the legal requirement to clearly label the food. GM foods are already here. We have continued taking random laboratory tests. Take yours at a reputable lab and compare with ours!
Secondly, and given its immunity, Parliament will soon be told of how a few individuals are conspiring against the interest of the majority to make a kill. We hope the Speaker will allow this matter to be discussed in detail.
In opposing the GM foods, Cofek must hasten to appeal for soberness and separation of fact from fiction; from emotion to reason; from illusions to reality and from 2012 politics to non-contestable matters of human health.
We as the consumers’ apex federation are working on a strategy to defeat the minority with evil intentions as relates to the backdoor introduction of GM foods at a policy level.
In so doing, we will soon be calling our like-minded partners to a roundtable discussion around GM foods.
Finally, we are actively considering seeking legal interpretation of the decision by Cabinet to approve the importation of GM maize against the long-term health and safety fears.