Agriculture Secretary Mithika Linturi wants scientists to come up with a counter-strategy to dispel the misinformation spread by anti-GMO activists.
Speaking at the fifth edition of the Africa Biennial Biosciences Communication symposium (ABBC2023) in Nairobi last week, Mr Linturi said biotechnology remains the best solution in addressing the current food challenges in the country, but it was unfortunate that the technology is being fought with lies.
The CS said scientists and other key stakeholders in the biotechnology industry need to dispel the lies put forth by the anti-GMO crusaders, who claim that these types of crops have negative effects on health.
“Since I joined the Ministry of Agriculture, most of my work has been undoing the damage caused by misinformation. Information on technology that is good like biotechnology has been distorted by these crusaders,” said Mr Linturi.
The CS said the reason why the government lifted the ban on GMOs was because of the current tight situation in the supply of maize and other food commodities in the country.
“Climate change has affected the food situation, the Kenyan population is growing, land mass is not growing and our soils are degraded, unless we use biotechnology to feed our people, we will keep getting complaints,” said the CS.
Margaret Karembu, Director of International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications – Africa (ISAAA-Africenter) said scientists have the capacity to share the right information with the public.
“Science has always been right,” said Dr Karembu who is the convener of this year’s meeting.
ABBC was initiated in 2015 and has provided an African based African led platform for stakeholders to actively exchange experiences and address pressing communication issues in propelling biosciences innovations in the continent.
The meeting was convened under the theme “Evolution of genetic improvement tools in agriculture: Is communication matching up!”