Kenya: diocese voices concerns over GM foods

 Genetically Modified (GM) foods are not suitable for small economies in Africa, as they encourage donor dependency and kill local industries, the Director of Baraka Agricultural College in the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru has told the Catholic Information Service Africa. Bro Tony Dolan, a Franciscan Brother, who is the Director of the biggest agricultural college in East and Central Africa, cited the use in terminator seeds in GM technology to ensure that the seeds cannot be multiplied elsewhere apart from the glass house in the United States of America. "This cannot be a viable solution to food shortage for small holders since they are only allowed to import GM products and not to produce any," Bro Dolan told CISA in an exclusive interview. Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki appeared to endorse GM foods when he officially commissioned a Biosafety Green House at the National Research Laboratory of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) at Kabete, Nairobi, on June 23, 2004. Bro Dolan said that the main producer of GM foods is imposing the technology in the developing world by influencing research by scientists in specific countries. John King'au, his deputy, said that there are ulterior motives in the GM technology as the foods produced are only sent to poor states and not consumed by the producer. "The main motive of the GM technology is to wipe out smaller economies," he said. This view is shared by other experts. Critics who urge caution point out that herbicide-resistant crop varieties -such as those being pushed by GM advocates- will alter the use of herbicides, thus damaging other crops, harming beneficial insects like bees, and finding their way into water and marine life and sea food. Health risks of GM foods, analysts say, include resistance to antibiotics in humans, arising from the possibility of harmful bacteria picking up marker genes (which survive exposure to antibiotics unlike their normal counterparts) caused by genetic modification. GM technology, though it promises bigger yields, is also accused of endangering ecosystems and advancing a monoculture to the detriment of the current rich biodiversity. Source: CISA

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