The Environmental Court has dismissed a case challenging the introduction of Genetically Modified into the country for lack of evidence on the risk that it poses to humans and the surrounding as argued by petitioners.
Justice Oscar Angote cited the lack of supporting evidence from the petitioner regarding the potential harm to humans as the reason for dismissing the petition in a case that was filed filed by the Kenya Peasants League on behalf of the smallholder farmers.
The court’s verdict comes as a major boost to President William Ruto, who is banking on technology to improve food security in the country. The cabinet approved lifting of the 10-year ban last year.
Justice Angote also noted that there had been sufficient public involvement, including a session held in Nairobi at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) and a gazette notice, dismissing claims by the petitioners.
“This court has not been presented with any evidence indicating violations of laws and regulations pertaining to GMO foods by the respondents and related institutions, specifically regarding the approval of maize cultivation, importation, and exportation,” Justice Angote said in dismissing the case.
The judge said the petitioner’s claims regarding the cultivation, importation, and exportation of GMO maize without a license were premature due to the absence of concrete evidence.
“The petitioner has failed to provide any evidence demonstrating that the fourth respondent is actively involved in food cultivation, processing, import, or export,” the Judge ruled.
National Biosafety Authority chief executive officer Roy Mugiira welcomed the move by the court, arguing that they had put forth a strong case to prove the safety of GMOs.
“We provided all evidence that was needed to prove that GMOs are safe for human consumption through the affidavit that we submitted before the court,” said Dr Mugiira.
It was a boost for the defendants after the judge noted that the petitioner had not contested the existing GMO regulations as provided locally by the NBA and at the international levels.
The court underpinned the role of the NBA as a regulator arguing that it was improbable for any institution to intentionally expose the population to a likely danger.