Are GMOs the Answer to Kenya's Food Security Issues?

Kenyan farmers Kenyans examining Genetically Modified insect-resistant corn.  Image by Dave Hoisington/CIMMYT and released under Creative Commons.

Kenyan farmers Kenyans examining Genetically Modified insect-resistant corn. Image by Dave Hoisington/CIMMYT and released under Creative Commons.

Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto announced August 12 that the Kenyan government will soon lift a ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to create an enabling environment for the growth of biotechnology innovation and industries in Kenya.

GMO is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. The Kenyan government banned GMOs since 2012 following the release of a study found that GMO maize caused cancer in rats.

The subject of GMOs is surrounded by controversy with international advocacy groups such as Organic Consumers Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Greenpeace claiming that GMOs risks have not been adequately identified.

Reactions on Twitter varied sharply following Ruto's announcement.

Anti: ‘GMOs are a sin against humanity’

Padie Mwangi claims that Kenya's elite will save itself while the rest of the population is lumbered with GMOs.

Are we cleverer than bees and flies?

HeinrichBöllStiftung in Nairobi, Kenya noted that genetically modified seeds’ prices keep soaring:

Youth Without Future said:

COFEK, KENYA advised the government on how to best help Kenyan farmers without the use of GMOs:

S.W. Maina warned:

Is labeling GM products for consumers a solution?:

Truther Botred described GMOs as a “sin against humanity”:

Following Deputy President Ruto’s now infamous opposition to homosexuality in Kenya, Dennis Maina said:

Billow Ismail Jr. is worried that the Kenyan health system will not be able to handle GMO-related health risks:

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) reminded Ruto about the claims that GMOs have led Indian farmers to commit suicide:

Alien Axioms maintained that GMOs will not solve Kenya’s food shortages:

While Olive Njeri called for focus on organic farming:

Pro: ‘Every technology is always opposed in the beginning’

Responding to arguments opposing the move by @KiamaKaara and @ConsumersKenya, Mwangi Wambui remarked:

Supporting the lifting of the ban, Mesha Kenya tweeted:

David Muthini asked the opponents of GMOs the following question:

Ben Makenzie pointed out:

TechGuideKE explained why Kenyan farmers need GMOs:

“Whats the fuss about GMOs?” asked Junior Mwanza:

Dorothy Akolo castigated those opposed to the ban saying:

Team Korir compared the opposition to GMOs to that of other useful technologies in the past:


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