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June 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

“Kenya is on the brink of embracing biotechnology in agriculture. On the brink. Now I’m ready to say something new. We’ve been on the brink for too long.”

These words, offered by Gilbert arap Bor, a Kenyan smallholder farmer and lecturer at the Catholic University of East Africa- Eldoret, illustrate the frustration shared by many farmers -smallholder and large across Kenya and much of the African and Asian continents. With the safety of GE crops confirmed and supported by scientists, approved by every regulatory agency around the world, based on thousands of reports and 21 years of data, why does the war regarding the safety of these often life-changing crops continue to rage?

Have no doubt: The impacts of this ‘war’ are real, and they challenge farmers in the developing and developed countries around the world.

For many African farmers, 2017 will go down as one of the most challenging to raise a crop – devastating drought conditions, political uncertainty, lingering crop disease challenges, and then the fateful march of the fall armyworm across the continent, decimating crops and hopes. With reports of swarms of armyworm insects marching across Africa, 2018 appears no better, threatening a continent-wide food crisis.

And farmers rarely suffer alone. When the world’s breadbaskets don’t produce, people go hungry. They hurt in other ways as well. Gilbert is convinced that Kenya’s recent political turmoil, with its violent protests and cancelled presidential election, was due at least in part to food insecurity. Read more