The government is set to appeal the High Court order that stopped the importation and distribution of genetically modified crops in Kenya.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai expressed confidence that the Appeals Court will rescind the order since the government engaged all stakeholders before the ban on genetically modified crops was lifted.
On Monday, the High Court issued temporary orders barring the government or any person either directly or indirectly from importing or distributing genetically modified crops until a case filed by Kenyan Peasants League, a social movement, is heard and determined.
The group argues that the move to lift the ban and remove regulatory protocols imposed in 2012 is unprocedural and unlawful, adding that GMO products pose a health risk to Kenyans, particularly the poor and those with low incomes. It also claims that the government lifted the ban without involving Kenyans through the public participation rule, as required by the Constitution.
Kenya lifted a 10-year ban on the cultivation and importation of genetically modified crops in early October. In a press release, the Cabinet said that the decision was guided by recommendations of a task force on genetically modified foods and food safety and guidelines of the National Biosafety Authority.
Advocates against genetically modified foods, among them Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga, have opposed the authorization, citing safety issues to human health and the environment.
Odinga argued that the reintroduction of GMOs is a cruel excuse that violates Kenyans' rights and jeopardizes national interests at the expense of foreign commercial interests.
"They [GMOs] are banned in many scientifically advanced economies like France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg. Bulgaria, Poland, Denmark, Malta, Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia. Why Kenya?" Raila said this month.
"We believe that introducing them into Kenya in the current state of international uncertainty is to use Kenyans as guinea pigs, which we shall not allow. Even the poor and the hungry ought to have their rights and dignity protected.”