A number of legislators from the National Assembly and Senate have strongly opposed the government’s plan to import Genetically Modified (GMO) maize.
On Monday, Pokot South MP David Pkosing asked Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria to immediately stop the plan to import maize, whether GMO or not.
The MP said that he will petition parliament to discuss the issue on Tuesday, arguing that the government should instead purchase maize from Kenyan farmers in the North Rift region.
“Kuria should not even think of importing even a single bag of maize between now and February 2023. That’s when we will know if there is need to import or not because all maize will have been collected from farmers,” Pkosing said.
His Kimilili counterpart Didmus Barasa is also among legislators who have strongly opposed the importation of GMO maize, which he has termed as a health hazard.
“I,Didmus Wekesa Barasa Mutua, the son of a widow, don’t support the importation of GMO-related foodstuffs. Will only do this when and or until such a time when we would have equipped our hospitals with proper disease diagnostic,” he wrote in a tweet.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has also strongly opposed the importation of maize, terming it as an injustice to farmers from the North Rift region.
“The importation of duty-free maize is not fair to us maize farmers because of its wrong timing. In the Rift Valley, we are currently harvesting maize now it shall lower the prices of maize. We shall tomorrow meet Mps of maize growing areas to develop a sustainable solution on the matter,” Cherargei said.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma opposed the importation of GMO maize, claiming that President William Ruto is allowing it out of pressure from western countries.
“President William Ruto is under pressure from the West to allow dumping of GMO products in Kenya! This is a country in Africa sitting along the tropics with arable fertile soil and enough rain to produce adequate natural food! Reject!” Kaluma said.
The opposition, led by Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga has asked Kenyans to boycott genetically modified foods until public participation is conducted.
“We ask Kenyans to oppose this move and to totally reject any GMO foods should they ever enter the Kenyan market,” Raila said.