GM corn coming to Kenya? Local researchers petition government to approve Bt insect-resistant maize

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Credit: Neil Palmer/Flickr

According to Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (KARLO) Director General Dr Eliud Krieger, the research agency has sought approval from the Government through the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) before the new maize variety known, as Bt Maize is formally introduced in the country. The insect protected GM maize will not only help farmers increase yields by reducing damage caused by stem-borer and insect pests by also improving yields.

Speaking on [November 3] during a media sensitisation on the new maize variety at KARLO, Kibos in Kisumu, Dr Krieger said National Performance Trials (NPT) on new maize varieties have been successfully concluded.

“The country is losing about 40% of the 42 million bags of maize to stem-borer and other pests and we have to import to make up for the losses,” he added. “The Bt maize has already been approved to work in other countries like South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi where the technology has helped them double their maize yields” he added.

Dr Krieger allayed fears that GM foods caused cancer, giving an assurance about the efficacy.

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A principal researcher of the Tela maize project, Dr James Karanja said Bt maize has been planted in six different sites in the country that represent target agro-ecological environments to test their performance.

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