The horn of Africa is undergoing the most severe food crisis over the last 60 years. To address the growing number of people suffering from hunger, Kenya has decided to officially authorize the importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), becoming the fourth African country to open its doors to GM crops, together with South Africa, Egypt and Burkina Faso.

The new regulations were strongly opposed by environmentalist associations, a number of parliament delegates and local food producers, who are worried that the introduction of GM seeds will cause contamination of locally grown crops.

“When millions of people seem condemned to death by starvation, the rich local and international well-connected cartels (including industrial multinationals) are even hungrier”, says John Kariuki, vice-president of Slow Food International, working on the ground in his home country of Kenya. “With their excessive influence over many aspects of global economic, political and social life, they have lured some African governments into allowing the importation of GMOs.”

“The move is also allowing imported foodstuffs at the expense of locally produced alternatives,” continued Kariuki. “In many African countries what has been selected, saved, shared and withstood the test of time though surviving harsh climatic conditions is now no longer regarded as seed. Only dealers are allowed to sell seeds and in most cases they are sterilized deliberately so that farmers must go back to the shops every planting season.”

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