The National Biosafety Authority has approved field tests for genetically modified bananas, moving the country closer to accepting growing and consumption of GMO foods.
The authority…says the approval for controlled field tests was granted on November 7 last year, paving the way for the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation to test transgenic bananas.
The bananas have been modified for purposes of making them resistant to the Xanthomonas Wilt disease – also known as Bacterial Wilt. “That’s an ongoing project at the KALRO Centre in Alupe, Busia,” said Willy Tonui, the NBA chief executive.
GMO banana research has been going on for years, targeting the bacterial wilt disease.
The project started in Uganda where resistant BT bananas were developed and tested. Kenyan scientists are using Uganda’s success as the proof of their contention that the technology protects bananas against bacterial wilt. The disease causes some yellowish discharge from the banana plant, discolours the fruit at all stages and sometimes prematurely ripens or rots fruits as well as causes the leaves to wilt.
Farmers across East Africa have reported up to 100 per cent yield losses to the disease.
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