During this first week of July 2011 there has been an upsurge news coverage on the GM maize importation to Kenya from South Africa in order to alleviate food crisis that has been caused by poor harvest in the country. The poor harvests were caused by rain failure last year in many parts of the country. while some have their facts right, some of the articles raises concern on
scientific reporting in the country. Most of them base their reporting on hearsay feeding the country with wrong information on GM technology in General.
In fact some even do not know the name of the Authority vested with the power to ensure safety of the environment and human health in relation to modern biotechnology (National Bio-safety Authority NBA) quoting it instead as (National Safety authority NSA). This article also claims Kenya is allowing import of Gm Maize even before that import guidelines were permitted. Another news agency wrote that Kenya the importation of GMO to start next week. It should be noted that according to Bio-safety act 2009 an approval for any GMO application for import, contained use or confined field Trials(CFT) comes not earlier than 90 days and not later than 150 days.
public needs to get the right information on the pros and cons of GMOs to be able to make the right choices. I f this debate is left to lobby groups who mostly have their own vested interests, the public will definitely continue getting unfounded information. In this regard scientists should come out and seal that information gap between science in the lab and the common “mwananchi”.
Let me just give you links to some of the articles online about the above matter.
- “Hunger rekindles debate over GM Maize”. This is a nice article with some input from two Professors. This can give one some facts on GM and Biotechnology in general.
- “GM food might ease hunger problem, but is it the ultimate solution to shortages?” reads another headline. I believe that it’s not the ultimate solution but a major part of the solution especially where conventional methods to solve the problem have failed. This raised an issue of failure of Bt cotton in India. In regard to this please read this report on the same and make your own informed decision on the issue.
- “Kenya protests over GM imports.” Find here some of the opponents of the GM technology including an MP.
In conclusion let me say that, properly regulated application of Gm technology can help solve many of the problems facing humanity as I have outlined in my previous post. We need to embrace factual discussion on the matter.