Kenya, one of the first African countries to legalize GM technology, used to be recognized as a leader in that region’s biotechnology development. But in response to the now-debunked Seralini study, Kenya’s Public Health Minister Beth Mugo recently outlawed the importation of all genetically modified products into the country.
Scientists are raising the alarm and pointing out that GM foods have never been associated with health risks, yet the government insists that the ban will remain in effect “until there is sufficient information, data and knowledge demonstrating that GMO foods are not a danger to public health.”
Anti-biotech organizations such as the African Center for Biosafety and the African Civil Society see the ban as an issue of food sovereignty, and are calling for a continent-wide ban. “Africans must determine what crops are suitable culturally and environmentally,” the coordinator of the African Center for Biosafety told IPS. “Up to 80 percent of our food needs are met by smallholder farmers. These people need support and inputs for integrated agro-ecological crop management. Africa should ideally be a GMO-free continent.”
And in the midst of it all, many scientists are wondering whether the measure could deny food and medicine to hundreds of thousands of Kenyans.