On Thursday, November 17, Agriculture CS Moses Kuria announced that the government has allowed the importation of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) maize.
The former Gatundu South MP said that the 10 million bags will be imported duty-free maize adding that the maize is expected to last for the next six months.
“Until we are satisfied that we have enough maize in this country, our staple food, tomorrow (Friday, November 18) I am signing a gazette notice to allow for the importation of up to 10 million bags of maize, duty-free for the next six months until we achieve food security,” Kuria said.
The move to import the grain has received criticism not only from the opposition wing but from a section of legislators from President William Ruto’s Rift Valley region.
Led by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, the lawmakers said it was wrong for the government to source GMO maize from outside when the country has enough natural grain.
As such, the United Democratic Alliance legislator is now calling on the government to first source maize from farmers in the Rift Valley region.
He said while importing duty-free from outside is a good step in arresting the ever-skyrocketing cost of unga prices, the move will, in turn, disadvantage maize farmers in Kenya as they will have no market for their produce.
“CS Moses Kuria at his usual element but our Rift Valley farmers are currently harvesting maize, the importation of maize should stop until the government has mopped up all this year’s crop and avoid lowering prices that don’t match the inputs incurred by maize farmers!” Cherargei said in a Tweet.
The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party had earlier opposed the importation of GMO maize over safety concerns.
But Kuria defended the importation of GMOs saying that being a Kenyan, one is already a candidate for death as there are a lot of things competing for death.
“And because so many things compete for death, there is nothing wrong with adding GMOs to that list. That is why we have deliberately allowed GMOs until we are satisfied that we have enough maize, the staple food,” Kuria