Trade, Investment and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has come under fire from Kenyans over his remarks on the government’s decision to lift the ban on Genetically Modified (GMO) foods.
While admitting that GMO foods present risks to human health, Kuria said being a Kenyan makes one a candidate for death as there are many things that can kill you, adding that there is nothing wrong with adding GMOs to the list.
"We have so many things that can kill us in the country. Being in this country, you are a candidate for death," he said while addressing traders on Thursday.
He added: "And because so many things compete for death, there is nothing wrong with adding GMOs to that list. That is why we have deliberately allowed GMO until we are satisfied that we have enough maize, the staple food."
The cabinet secretary further said the government allowed the importation of six million bags of duty-free genetically modified and non-GMO maize in efforts to curb ongoing hunger and famine.
"In view of the food situation in the country, I shall be signing instruments to allow duty-free imports of GMO and non-GMO maize for the next six months," he said.
A video of Kuria’s remarks went viral online on Friday, attracting massive backlash from Kenyans.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo tweeted: "This Is Truly Sad!".
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, wrote” “If you are shocked by anything Moses Kuria says or does, you are the problem. Kula tu GMO ukufe."
American billionaire Bill Gates, who is on a visit to Kenya, backed Kenya’s decision to authorize the cultivation and importation of GMOs, saying they are safe for human consumption.
"Every piece of bread I’ve ever eaten is from genetically modified wheat, every piece of corn I’ve eaten is G.M.O," Gates said.