Court Allows Planting of GMO Maize

The Court has rejected a case challenging the introduction and cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) maize in Kenya. In its verdict, the Environment Court stated that there was a lack of substantial evidence.

The use of GMOs has been a topic of controversy, particularly after President William Ruto’s administration lifted the ban on GMO imports into the country.

Following the court’s decision, Ruto reassured the public that genetically modified products were safe for consumption, emphasizing that he would not jeopardize the lives of Kenyan citizens.

“Most of the food we import contains GMOs, albeit in limited quantities. The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) mandates the percentage to be one. However, this policy results in us paying 30 to 40 percent more for our imports,” he stated in March 2023.

“South Africa and the USA have fully embraced GMOs. Have you ever heard of anyone growing horns due to GMO consumption? I am a scientist, and I would never endanger the lives of those who elected me.”

The President also argued that GMOs could be engineered to resist pests and diseases, potentially reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides.

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However, these claims were challenged by Civil Society groups who took legal action, seeking to overturn Ruto’s directives.

The groups contended that the government had not provided enough evidence to demonstrate the safety of modified crops for human consumption.  The High Court sided with the Civil Society groups, imposing a ban on the importation and distribution of GMO products.

In the judgment delivered by a three-judge panel, they emphasized that the government had failed to present sufficient proof regarding the safety of the product.

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