Kenyan farmers form a Grassroots Organization to Demand for Biotech Crops

OFAB Kenya

February 2017

The officials that were elected to represent the newly formed society Kenya National Society for Biotechnology Farming :(Left to Right) Mr Mugo Magondu (Chairman), Mr Titus Ndalamia (Vice Chairman), Mr Jackson Omwoyo (Representing South Rift farmers), Mr James Riaga (Represnting Nyanza region farmers), Mr Michael Kasena (Secretary), Mrs Abisage Auma (Treasurer), Mr Nahason Ong’ale (Represnting Western Kenya), Mrs Naomi Kamau (Representing Eastern Kenya) , Mrs Damaris Tarus (Representing North Rift farmers)

Following OFAB-Kenya’s initiative to create awareness in the grassroots through sensitization of farmer leaders from all regions of the country, the farmers have now come together to form a grassroots organization called Kenya National Society for Biotechnology Farming.

The OFAB-K’s objective in the initiative was to create agricultural biotechnology awareness among volunteer farmer leaders in order for them to further cascade the information to the village level in a farmer-led agri-biotech grassroots outreach.

This outreach was expected to address misinformation amongst Kenyan farmers especially maize and cotton growing counties thus empowering them with factual science-based information on GMO crops. T

After a series of sensitization meetings among them a youth farmers’ conference organized by OFAB-Kenya, University of Embu and Program for Biosafety Systems, the farmers decided to form a grassroots organization. The key objectives of the organization are to conduct awareness activities on agricultural biotechnology at the grassroots, lead the push by farmers to policy makers for biotech crops and facilitate in the uptake of the technology when the government approves them for commercial release.

The farmers were confident that through the organization, they would benefit from awareness creation initiatives organized by themselves or for them by organizations with agricultural biotechnology interest. This therefore forms a critical mass as the information cascades through the group’s networks. The farmers elected the inaugural steering committee led by Chairman Mr Mugo Magondu, a cotton farmer from Kirinyaga County. They also contributed towards the requisite funds for the organization. The newly elected officials commissioned the drafting of the articles of association, which OFAB Kenya facilitated and also initiated the formal registration process.

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