Kenya: Gates Foundation grant for GM agriculture
Wednesday, 09 May 2012
Kenya is set to receive a $3 million US grant to enhance education and knowledge of GM crops. The grant comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa and is intended to aid decision making about biotechnology in the country.
The biosafety act is now in place in the country, but GM opponents still have their doubts over the nation's ability to protect indigenous plants from gene contamination.
"Currently the debate on biotechnology is characterized by scientific facts which are often mixed with environmental, health, social-ethical and political considerations. This complicates matters for these key decision makers often resulting in development of negative perceptions of genetically modified crops and mis-informed discussions," said African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) executive director, Dr Dennis Kyetere.
The biosafety bill allows for the testing of GM crops that will enhance productivity and food security, as well as helping to develop the economy.
It is hoped that the act, and the related grant, will address the concerns of some analysts, that Africa is lagging behind when it comes to biotechnology.