Nairobi, 13 October 2022: Ahead of World Food Day, Greenpeace Africa has urged President Ruto to take concrete action to free Kenya’s food system from profit driven corporations that have held it ransom for too long. In his manifesto President Ruto recognised that agriculture provided a livelihood for more than 80% of Kenya’s population and made a commitment to increase agricultural productivity by supporting farmers to produce more food as opposed to relying heavily  on imports. 

Samuel Wathome, enjoying the fruits of his labour.

“The president’s decision to lift the ban on GMOs goes against his own commitments. Lifting the ban will pave the way for multinational corporations to control the seeds farmers use to grow food, ultimately tying our farmers into a debt and poverty cycle. These corporations will essentially dictate what we grow and eat. Seed is the first link in food production and it ought to remain in the control of the farmers and not corporations only interested in profit making,’’ said Greenpeace Africa’s campaigner, Claire Nasike.

“As a trained scientist and a PhD holder in plant ecology, we expect President Ruto to make the right decision on food matters that will bring an end to the recurrent hunger situation in the country. The true solution to food security and sovereignty lies in our farmers controlling and breeding their own seeds,” continued Nasike.

Smallholder farmers often rely on informal farmer-managed seed systems where farmers exchange indigenous seeds with each other to enable food production. For all the food crops cultivated in Kenya, more than 78% of the seeds are from these informal seed systems.  President Ruto needs to amend punitive seed laws that prevent smallholder farmers from sharing, selling and exchanging indigenous seeds.

“The government needs to support farmers to access water during the drought periods to enable adequate food production. Provision of agricultural extension services, proper infrastructure and sufficient storage facilities to minimise food wastage are critical to solving perennial hunger in the country and not GMOs,” added Nasike.

“This World Food Day, we urge president Ruto to immediately reinstate the ban on GMOs, support farmer managed seed systems as well as focus the country’s resources into looking for long-term and sustainable solutions to issues affecting food security and agricultural productivity in Kenya,” concluded Nasike.

Notes to the Editor:

  • World Food Day is commemorated on 16 October every year. The theme for this year is ‘Leave no one behind’.

Media Contacts:

Greenpeace Africa Press Desk: [email protected]

Hellen Kahaso Dena, Communications and Story Manager, [email protected], +254 717 104 144