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MPs threaten to seek legal redress over importation of GMO maize

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 14:56 | By
North Rift MPs to meet CS Kuria over plans to import GMO maize
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei at a past press conference PHOTO/Courtesy

A section of leaders have threatened to move to court to challenge the importation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods into the country.

Led by Nandi senator Samson Cherargei, the leaders who have maintained that they oppose the move stated that they will seek legal intervention on the matter.

They noted that the move by President William Ruto's administration would paralyse the maize farming sector and subsequently lead to its collapse.

"There is a deliberate move to continue killing the maize farms in this country as was seen in the previous regime where even the sugar sector and other farming sectors were killed, it seems that the cartels are now back into business, this time around, they appear more aggressive more ruthless, " Cherargei stated.

The senator further highlighted that the committees of Agriculture, Trade and Industry and corporatives in parliament should have summoned Trade CS Moses Kuria and his Agriculture counterpart Mithika Linturi regarding the matter.

He underscored that the ministry should cease the issuance of the gazette notice allowing the importation of 10 million bags of maize expected into the country.

"Furthermore, the ministry should cease the issuance of the gazette notice to allow the importation of 10 million duty-free bags or any other amount of bags in the country. We call upon the government to cease the importation of maize into the country," Cherargei added.

The senator further alluded that they were open to having further discussions on the matter in order to make informed decisions on the issue of GMOs.

"As parliament, we are ready to talk about the issue of GMO rate in the country with necessary consultation including stakeholders but not limited to members of parliament," he added.

His sentiments were further echoed by Kiminini Member of Parliament (MP) Didmus Barasa who assured farmers that they would fight tooth and nail to ensure that no maize will be imported.

"Tuko na akili ya kutosha kuhakikisha kwamba hakuna mahindi gushi inaingia hapa Kenya, tuna mahindi ya kutosha katika shamba store katika store za wakulima wengi zaidi na sheria inasema kua serikali inunue mahindi yote, kama ni kuongezewa mahindi, mahindi lazima ikue sawasawa, kama ya Uganda, ya Tanzania si lazima ikue GMO,"he stated.

Leaders oppose GMO

Earlier, a section of Members of Parliament (MPs) from the North Rift region, had raised concern over the importation of GMO maize into the country.

Led by Cherargei, the leaders said plans to ship 10 million bags into the country were in bad faith and would demoralise local farmers currently harvesting their crops.

Cherargei argued that the farmers are likely to incur huge losses after spending so much on farm inputs.

"When we were planting maize we spent about Ksh7,000 on fertiliser per bag. The price of petrol was also high. Importing the maize will hurt maize prices in the country and our farmers won't get returns for their sweat," he argued.

The senator suggested that the Kenya Kwanza government should prioritise buying the current harvest before importing any maize into the country.

"We are calling on the government to suspend plans to import maize into the country and spend the next three months buying the harvest from our farmers. If there is a shortage by February then they can go ahead with the importation plans," he added.

He said he will be leading a group of MPs from the region to meet CS Linturi and his Trade, Investment and Industry counterpart CS Kuria for talks on the ongoing plans.

"It is surprising that the CSs for Trade and Agriculture appear not to recognise the fact that our farmers are currently harvesting maize. I don't think the statement on importing maize was made in good faith. It will demoralise our farmers. MPs from the Rift Valley region will be sitting with the two CSs by Tuesday to address this matter," he added.

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