We didn’t pass insect-resistant GM maize, Nema now protests
‘Decision will only be made once the applicants have submitted a full environmental impact assessment and once we have collected public views’
The National Environmental Management Authority has denied claims it approved GM insect-resistant maize for trial.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation in April last year sought the authority’s approval to plant GM maize in national performance trials, to determine if the crop can be commercialised.
Nema’s deputy director of compliance and enforcement Zephania Ouma said the the approval is erroneous and will be corrected.
“The decision to approve, or not to, will only be made once the applicants have submitted a full environmental impact assessment and once we have collected views from the public and analysed them,”he said.
This comes despite the authority’s website showing the application was approved, though no permit has been issued.
Applications are supposed to be processed in 90 days. This has taken another 60 days. The applicants wrote to Nema, expressing their frustrations. They say the delay sends mixed signals to the donor community, universities and development partners.
“As scientists, we have fulfilled all environmental impact assessment requirements. But it’s taking longer than the expected 90 days, which expired in June, when the decision was supposed to have been made and communicated,” said Murenga Mwimali, Water Efficient Maize in Africa-Kenya project country coordinator.
Early this year, the National Biosafety Authority gave conditional approval for release of the Bt maize. But the approval depends on an environmental impact assessment by Nema.
Ouma said this could only be done after getting policy direction from the Agriculture ministry.
A child plays metres away from the mother along the Moi Avenue yesterday. The child is few metres from the edge of the busy street on