Murang’a Catholic Diocese Bishop Maria Wainaina has cautioned the government against hastening the introduction of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods into the country and asked those involved to go slow on the issue.
Speaking in Kigumo, the bishop observed that many people have expressed various concerns regarding the introduction of GMO foods in the country and added that the government should listen to them.
Bishop Wainaina further said there ought to be robust discussion about the matter and cautioned the government against bulldozing its way without considering all the issues raised by those with a divergent opinion.
“The government should be careful not to bring in foods that would hurt our people and this decision should be carefully considered,” Rt Rev Wainaina said.
Bishop Wainaina stated that it is the government’s primary role to protect her people and she should not make any move that would potentially harm the citizens.
He called for public participation on the matter so that the government can thereafter make a decision knowing what the Kenyan public wants.
Murang’a politician, Sabina Chege echoed the bishop’s sentiments saying there is need for public participation on such a serious issue.
Chege said that it would be unwise for the country to allow consumption of GMO food without doing the proper research on possible health implications on consumers.
She noted that the public should then be educated on all the advantages and disadvantages of GMO foods to dispel any fears and misinformation.
Chege, however, argued that although it is already possible that Kenyans might already be unknowingly consuming GMO foods that could have illegally found their way into the country the government should do due diligence before legalizing the foods.
The politician noted that the public health system was already overburdened and adding food that could potentially cause more illnesses among the people was not a decision to be made in haste.
She also urged the government to explore other avenues of attaining food security in the country such as the empowerment of Kenyan farmers as Kenya is capable of producing enough food for its people.
“The government cannot justify the rush to bring in GMOs when farmers in the rift valley or places like Nyandarua are always complaining of high cost of farming and lack of markets for their harvested food crops.
She added that in times of drought the government could buy off livestock from the pastoralists and the meat can then be used as relief food instead of waiting for the herders to lose all their animals.
She insisted that there was more that the government could do to ensure food security in the country and that GMO should be used as a last resort.
By Purity Mugo