Nairobi activists held banners shunning the introduction of GM food into their country along Kenyatta Avenue this week to send a message to Deputy President William Russo. In Kenya, the president has lifted a ban to allow genetically modified foods to be grown in the nation “to increase food security,” and citizens aren’t happy.
Scientists, nutrition experts, and citizens from Kenya joined in to protest. They claim that the president’s decision goes against their constitutional right for safe food. The decision is being called unethical and unsafe.
The GM ban reconsideration started approximately two years ago when a virus was threatening 70% of Kenya’s corn crops. The agricultural researcher, Simon Gichuki explains that maize is an integral part of the Kenyan diet. They eat it every day.
“Even when the other crops are doing well – like bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes – we say there is famine.”
However, several African countries have also refused GM food, even in the form of aid sent from the UN World Food Programme. In a movement with the sentiment, “Better dead than GM fed,” some of the countries of South Africa with the worst food crises (including Zambia) still don’t want to feed its citizens genetically modified organisms due to fear that it would make the poor even more unstable through contamination of non-GM crops.
Of course others are concerned about eating food with questionable ingredients that could harm their health. Other hungry countries in the region, such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique, have decided, despite initial reluctance, to accept GM food aid. But it has been suggested this is largely due to the influence of biotech corporations.
The US has accused Europe of ‘poisoning’ Africa’s opinion of GM crops, claiming that the health risks were exaggerated by organizations like the British Medical Association. In response, the EU has defended its claims based on repeated evidence that GM foods are problematic for the environment as well as human health.
This can also be seen with the various EU nations rejecting GMO foods. For example, France, Scotland, Italy, Germany, and others have taken action against genetically modified foods.
The EU also pointed out that any adverse risks, if they existed, were irreversible, and should be studied more comprehensively before unleashing genetically modified crops in untested areas. Sadly, this phenomenon has happened worldwide.
Maybe this is why numerous scientists are urging us as a collective to either halt or intensely limit this massive GMO experiment we are conducting on the food supply.
||Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.