Nyeri Diocese Catholic Archbishop, Anthony Muheria, has called for ‘sober’ engagements between the government and food experts to unlock the gridlock surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Archbishop Muheria argues that the GMO debate should not be trivialized like it has and that an open forum bringing together experts in the field of agriculture and food should be engaged to offer a clear direction that the country should take before embracing the consumption of GMOs.
“When we speak about GMOs, it is a matter that deserves deep, strategic, respectful and sober engagements. It is not for us to embrace them wholeheartedly without reservations nor do we want a situation where we reject their use even if it could be for a specific period of time,” said Arch Muheria.
“We call for a good moment of engagement by government and the agriculture and food experts so that we may find the right path. We also need to discuss the dangers that Kenyans are exposed to, sometimes it is exaggerated, sometimes it can be contained and mitigated, we should not just discuss emotions, let us discuss scientific facts,” he added.
The Nyeri Archbishop also weighed in on the food sufficiency matter and said that there was need to find a long term solution to the perennial drought situation. According to Muheria, the current famine situation was as a result of poor planning and the lack of strategy adding that the government should change its approach in order to make the country food secure. Further, he also called for improved agricultural and water harvesting practices which he said would contribute towards making the country food secure.
“We have been managing the crisis instead of proper planning. As a long-term solution, we need to address what ails Kenya and what it is that makes us not to be food sufficient. We must address issues of improved agricultural methods, sustainable support to agriculture and how we store harvested food and in this context, we will be able to be food sufficient and plant for adversity and moments when rains fail, “said Arch Muheria.
At the same time, Archbishop Muheria has criticized the Trade, Investment and Industry CS, Moses Kuria, for trivializing the lives of Kenyans. The Archbishop says that the CS’s comments were disrespectful and distasteful to the Kenyans and called on Moses Kuria to tender an apology for joking with their lives.
“Even if it is an issue which could be taken as a joke, it could be wrong to bring about statements whereby we trivialize death, suffering and insecurity. For this reason, we feel irrespective of the matter in consideration, we would request honestly that Kenyans deserve respect and not spite and in this matter, they do deserve an apology,” said Muheria.
The Archbishop’s sentiments come after the Trade CS last week listed introduction of GMOs as one of the ways for a Kenyan to die. The Trade CS was speaking after authorizing the importation of 10 million bags of GMO maize into the country.
“We have so many things that can kill us in this country. Being in this country, you are a candidate for death. And because so many things compete for death, there is nothing wrong with adding GMOs to that list. That is why we have deliberately allowed GMOs until we are satisfied we have enough maize,” said Moses Kuria.