It will take longer before Kenya conducts open trials on genetically modified (GM) crops after the government said the country was not ready for such an undertaking.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said Kenya was yet to put in place mechanism that would ensure the GM seed is not cross-pollinated, contaminating local varieties during the field tests.
The announcement comes just a month after the boards of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) and the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) met to try and resolve the standoff.
It now seems the talks might not bear much as the move will require approval from the parent ministry.
The move is a big blow to researchers who have been arguing that the ban by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu is illegal, given that scientists wanted to conduct field trials, but not commercialise the crops’ production.
Mr Bett said further research has to be done to address the risk that GMO maize may have on the environment before it is released for trials.
“Kenya is still one of the countries that still believes we should be a GMO-free state,” Mr Bett said during an interview.
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