|Last December, some civil society and farmers’ groups took for testing maize seeds grown in different parts of the country. They were confirmed to have been genetically modified.
Maize is our national staple, yet we are now growing and consuming a variety that is potentially harmful to our heath.
Secondly, it is not clear why officials from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute have not taken any action since last month when the matter was brought to their attention.
While we acknowledge that verifying the accuracy of the sampling method and the reliability of the results requires time, the issue at hand touches on the confidence that Kenyans have on the willingness of those bodies to protect the common good.
We need to know, for instance, why global biotechnology corporations, as well as the lobbies, are so determined to have our farmers cultivate genetically modified maize and other crops.
In a globalised world, there is nothing wrong with any company wanting to capitalise on market opportunities in Kenya. But the Government needs to protect our own companies that market seeds.
We should avoid, at all costs, a situation where our farmers will end up being forced to source maize seeds solely from the multinational companies.
We also need to establish that such seeds are safe for our health. This is crucial because this modification involves pumping poison-emitting bacteria into maize seeds to fight pests or resist drought.
The onus is with our research bodies to establish the effect of GM foods on humans. We cannot expect laboratories abroad to do this for us.