One for, One against: Kenya's elite way in on GM crops

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 29, 2004: Hans Herren, director of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology and a leader in Kenya’s scientific community, has come out against genetically modified crops as the answer to this East African nation’s agricultural future. The comments were made less then a week after a speech by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki which praised GM crops.

In a recent interview in with Kenyan newspaper, ‘The Nation,’ Herron was quoted as saying, “What Africa needs are systems that are affordable and sustainable, and not projects ultimately unsustainable. We must get away from quick fixes and look at the larger picture. What we must strive to do is to adopt systems that not only increase yields but also build soil fertility, since declining soil fertility is one of the biggest problems of Agriculture in Africa.”

While Kenya is counted among African countries whose food production has kept pace with its population growth, it is still only able to supply about 70% of its demand for wheat. According to the Kenayweb ( website, this short fall continues to put a strain on the country’s economy.

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