Several Kenyan County Executive Committee members (county ministers) for health, environment and agriculture expressed their support for crop biotechnology and called for lifting of the 2012 GM foods import ban. Dr. Andrew Mulwa, Chair of the 47 County Executives of Health, expressed concern that the country was still holding onto a ban that was informed by a flawed study.
A team from the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), has commended the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, for his giant strides in the bank since assumption of office.
The ATTF in a delegation led by its Board Chair, Dr. Ousmane Badiane, including Dr. Denis Kyetere, Executive Director, Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin, Technical Operation Director and Mr. John Makokha, Resource Mobilization Officer to Abidjan congratulated Adesina.
Striga, also known as witchweed, is a parasitic weed that infests up to 50 million hectares of sub-Saharan African land. In Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda alone, striga infests over one million hectares of farmland. The weed causes farmers to lose anywhere from a third to one hundred percent of their staple crops, leading to hunger and financial hardship for as many as 100 million people. Traditional approaches to controlling Striga include crop rotation, intercropping, and various other planting techniques.
The Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has allowed researchers to release Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crop for field trials, marking a new turn is the raging debate over adoption of biotechnology plants.
NBA board met on Thursday last week and made the decision following the application by a group of scientists seeking the permission for the release of the crop for field trials.
Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), the proponents of the crops, made the application last year.
Ten Kenyan parliamentarians drawn from various house committees have assured scientists of their support in biotech research. They said this after touring various agri-biotechnology research facilities during a biotechnology travelling workshop in Nairobi organized by ISAAA AfriCenter, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) together with Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) with partners.
Africa desperately needs agricultural modernisation. With the most rapidly growing population in the world and hundreds of millions still suffering malnutrition, African leaders cannot afford to close the door to innovation.
Poverty is endemic and “yield gaps” mean that African farmers commonly harvest less than a tenth of the global average in maize and other crops.