Kenyan Court Dismisses Challenge Over GM Crops

Kenya | THE BLACK EXAMINER | On Thursday, a Kenyan court rejected a lawsuit challenging the government’s decision to permit the import and cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops as a response to the food crisis. The government had lifted a ten-year ban on GM crops in October the previous year due to food security concerns arising from a severe drought in the Horn of Africa.

Kenyan lawyer Paul Mwangi had promptly filed a legal challenge, asserting that the decision was unconstitutional due to safety concerns regarding the GM crops. However, Environment Court Judge Oscar Angote ruled that there was no evidence of harm to nature or human health.

Angote emphasized the importance of trusting the country’s regulatory institutions and holding them accountable when they violate the law, particularly in the context of GM food regulation.

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Kenya, like many other African countries, had banned GM crops over health and safety apprehensions and to protect smallholder farms, which constitute the majority of rural agricultural producers in the nation.

The ban had faced criticism, including from the United States, a major producer of GM crops. Activists and agriculture lobby groups protested against the ban lift, arguing that it exposed the market to US farmers who use advanced technologies and heavily subsidized farming, posing a threat to the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.

Agriculture is a significant contributor to Kenya’s economy, accounting for over 21 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the previous year, as per government statistics. The agricultural sector employs approximately 12 percent of Kenya’s 19 million workers, following the education sector and manufacturing.

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