Ruto to import 10 million bags of duty-free GMO maize for the next six months; a process set to kick off immediately to tame inflation
As part of new efforts to rein in the country’s out-of-control inflation, the government will start allowing the entry of duty-free genetically modified Maize starting today, November 18.
Moses Kuria, the secretary to the Trade Cabinet, announced Wednesday that the State would be able to import 10 million bags of GMO maize duty-free for the next six months.
“There is no harm in adding GMO to the list of the very many things that can kill you in this country. That is why we have deliberately decided to allow GMOs into this country until we are satisfied that we have enough maize, the staple food,” said Kuria.
“Tomorrow (today) I’m signing a gazette notice to allow for the importation of GMO maize duty-free until we achieve food security because that is our cardinal responsibility as government.”
The shipments are anticipated to fill the gap left by the lower harvest following the protracted drought, which caused the price of the essential maize flour to increase to an average of Sh190 in October for the two-kilogram package from Sh130 at the beginning of the year.
The costly maize flour together with fuel and other food items has led to Kenya’s monthly inflation rising to a 65-month high of 9.6 percent in October, squeezing household budgets and demand for goods and services.
This comes after the government earlier in October repealed the country’s 2012-era prohibition on the importation and growing of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops and animal feeds.
The action is intended to lessen the national food scarcity in light of the country’s present drought condition.
The ruling was a result of suggestions made by Beth Mugo, the then-minister of public health, who cited research from a French university that connected eating GM food to rat cancer.
The research’s conclusions received support from the Kenya Medical Research Institute as well.
The Joe Biden administration noted that the move was limiting its exports when the US government criticized Kenya’s refusal to withdraw the restriction in April 2022.