Kenyan court allows planting, release of genetically modified crops

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Court

A Kenyan court on Thursday dismissed a case that challenged the planting and release of genetically modified (GM) maize in the East African nation.

Justice Oscar Angote of the Environment and Land Court in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, disallowed the petition filed by campaigners, noting that they did not present any evidence to indicate that genetically modified organism (GMO) products cause harm to human health or the environment.

“This court has not been given any evidence that the government has breached the laws, guidelines, or regulations pertaining to GMO food,” Angote said, noting that the government had provided evidence to show that the country had established a robust framework as it considered introducing GMO food.

The government had done adequate public participation before it allowed the planting of GM maize in the country, the judge added.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) led a group of petitioners that challenged the government’s move to lift the ban on GMOs, noting that the crops were harmful to humans and the environment.

The LSK, an association of lawyers in Kenya, said that lifting the ban contravened the constitution as it did not guarantee citizens the right to safer food and a cleaner environment.

Kenya successfully completed the national performance trials for genetically modified maize in 2021, taking the crop closer to commercialization so that farmers can start growing it.

The country then lifted a decade-long ban on genetically modified crops on Oct. 3, 2022, as one of the measures to boost food security and mitigate climate change effects, including frequent droughts.

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