A civil society group has called on the government to maintain the ban on Genetically Modified (GMO) cotton (Bt Cotton) after news emerged that Kenya is closer to commercialising it.
Greenpeace Africa’s Food for Life Campaigner Claire Nasike said that the push for GMO crops represent a corporate takeover of our food system.
GMOs block the real solutions coming from sustainable farming that is addressing the impacts of climate change being felt by farmers and people all over the world, she said.
While it is important to revive the textile industry in Kenya, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and other government agencies should look at encouraging farmers in Kenya to grow conventional cotton varieties that use organic and sustainable ways of control of bollworm, said Nasike.
She claimed that Bt cotton has failed in countries such as Burkina Faso where it was introduced in 2008.
Burkinabe farmers stopped growing it citing high seed prices and poor quality as compared to the conventional cotton. Kenya’s government must protect small scale cotton growers instead of giving the big industrial corporations the power to put profits before farmers and the environment, she highlighted.
Greenpeace Africa urges the government of Kenya to maintain the ban on GMOs. They should invest in sustainable models of agriculture such as ecological farming. Ecological farming combines local farmers’ knowledge with the most recent scientific knowledge to create new technologies and practices that increase yields without negatively impacting the environment. It increases farmers’ income, promotes diversity, builds resilience and ultimately food security for the benefit of Kenya’s people and the empowerment of local farmers, Nasike said.
Source: Kenya News Agency