JALANG’O GIVES HIS OPINION ON GMO FOODS
Lang’ata Member of Parliament Phelix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o has opined that the government ought to have considered other possible solutions before lifting the ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) to solve the current food crisis.
Jalang’o argues that the State did not fully explore other options in boosting the agricultural sector, such as empowering local farmers, and thus should not have rushed into reintroducing GMOs as the last resort.
“We still have a lot of agricultural activities we can still pursue as a country before we go the GMO way. The local farmer as we speak is not fully empowered to give their total output. We first need to empower our own farmers,” the MP said on Citizen TV’s Day Break show on Friday morning.
“Have we exhausted the arable lands that we have to go the GMO way? Have we exhausted everything in the productivity of this country to go that way?”
The lawmaker further cited the dangers of GMOs as key causes of some of the most prevalent chronic diseases as had been laid out by health experts, intimating that Kenya should take caution by evaluating other favourable ways in crop production.
He however noted that if research proves GMOs to be the best solution in addressing the food shortage and boosting production, then it should be put into action in a bid to save lives.
“I know that GMO has a lot of effects out here; cancers and chronic diseases…we are already consuming GMOs anyway,” he said.
“But if it is something that will keep us going, watu wanataka chakula…if it will increase our food production, then why not? But first let’s consider exhausting all possible means before we go that way.”
Tetu MP Geoffrey Wandeto, who was also on the same platform, on his part concurred with the government on venturing into GMOs saying it would increase agricultural productivity.
Wandeto overlooked the effects of GMOs, underscoring that Kenya is already using some genetically modified foods from other nations which have maximised their production.
“In the GMO debate, we should be guided by science. It is not a new thing globally and it is practised in some of the advanced economies and they have used it to boost their agriculture,” he stated.
“The only way to lift millions of our people out of poverty is through increased agricultural productivity. GMO crops which are resistant to drought, pests coming to answer some of the issues we are grappling with such as climate change…our people no longer have food.”
He added: “Let’s assume we have 10 million farming households, if each household increases its production just by two bags, we have 20 million extra bags of maize. That is all the maize we are importing, we, therefore close the chapter on importation.”