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Kenya’s Environment Court dismisses case challenging GM crops use

The Kenya Environment Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a government decision to allow importation and cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops designed to combat food insecurity.

Upon assuming office in October, President William Ruto lifted the ban on GM crops which had been in place since 2012. This came after a since discredited paper– The Séralini Study— released in September of that year showed a link between cancerous tumors developing in mice and glyphosate.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) promptly lodged a court case challenging the constitutionality of the decision over concerns about the safety of GM crops.

Environment court judge Oscar Angote ruled on Thursday that there was no evidence of any harm caused by the crops to either human health or the environment.

“As a country, we need to trust the institutions that we have in place to regulate GM foods and call them to order when they breach the law. We should be confident that our health is in good hands,” Angote said.

Despite the existing 10-year ban on GM food crop cultivation, in 2019 under Uhuru Kenyatta’s government, the state approved open cultivation of Bt cotton. “70 per cent of Kenya’s cotton is used as feed and food with only 30 per cent used in the production of lint which makes clothes. President Ruto’s government only made the removal of the ban official,” explained Dr. Joel Ochieng, Head of Agricultural Biotechnology at the University of Nairobi.
According to the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), trials on stem borer-resistant maize varieties have shown the potential to double the country’s maize yield while greatly reducing production costs in pesticide application.

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