Details of GMO maize docking at Mombasa Port

The consignment comes even as the government is yet to gazette the importation of GMO foods into the country

The Port of Mombasa

About 10,000 tonnes of maize are expected to ship in the country on Tuesday November 2 amid a debate on whether to allow the use of genetically modified food.

The maize consignment is expected to support the battle against the ravaging drought that has hit parts of the country. Last week, Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria said he was going to allow duty-free maize to dock in the country although a gazette notice is yet to be made.

However, according to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), it was uncertain whether the maize set to dock was genetically modified since the government had not gazetted the importation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

According to CS Kuria, the maize will be imported by private millers, not the government. Ten million bags of maize are expected to be imported by the close of six months.

“The gazette notice that will be issued will open up the market to millers and anyone to import maize duty-free for six months. The government will not import any maize,” CS Kuria said.

On Monday, October 3, 2022, President William Ruto’s cabinet lifted the ban on the cultivation and importation of genetically modified food as well as animal feeds.

Ruto explained that the move would ensure early maturity and more production of food to cushion millions of Kenyans from perennial famine.

Since November 2012, Kenya has been hesitant to authorise the import or planting of genetically modified food crops, owing to controversy concerning the safety of GMO crops.

The move by the cabinet elicited division among different players with some arguing the decision was hastily made as there was a safety issue with GMO products.

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria however said the GMO products are aimed at boosting food security in the country.

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