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House teams instructs CS Mailu to support biotech research

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has been asked to stop frustrating research on genetically modified crops on the basis of an existing ban on importation of the crops.

The National Assembly’s Agriculture committee said Dr Mailu has no point suspending national performance trials for biotech maize.

“Nobody in Parliament said research should be banned. Our scientists should continue with research, even if it results to home-grown products,” the committee chairman Adan Mohammed Noor said.

The then Public Health minister Beth Mugo while announcing the ban said there was need to ascertain the safety of the biotech crops imports, following a controversial study by French researchers that linked the crops to cancer.

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The ban has been in place since November 2012, though the study was later retracted for failure to adhere to standard research procedures.

Mr Noor revealed that the committee is working on a petition from the Kenya University Biotechnology Consortium seeking to push the government to support modified crops research and allow consumption of locally developed biotech crops.

This follows a move by the government to reject an application by local researchers who wanted clearance to conduct field trials of the locally developed genetically modified maize that is resistant to stalk-borer that affects the country’s staple crop.

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