By OFAB Kenya
Kenyan women in biosciences expressed their concerns on the unpredictable biotechnology and biosafety policy environment and urged the government to streamline coordination between relevant regulatory arms to enable research.
The women were speaking during the inaugural Women in Biosciences Forum held in Nairobi, Kenya on April 20, 2017.
Dr Felister Makini, Deputy Director General (crops) at the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), noted that African women play a critical role in ensuring food security. She urged the government to make farming easier for them by providing modern tools such as biotechnology.
“As African women, we are the ones who suffer most whenever drought and food shortages strike, despite the availability of technological solutions to these problems,” she said. “We need to speak with one voice and advocate for a predictable policy environment. I have children and a family to protect. I cannot advocate for something that I know would affect them” she added.
Hailing Kenyan government’s intention to revive the textile industry by introducing Bt cotton, Dr Margaret Karembu, OFAB Kenya Country Coordinator, observed that despite demonstrated will and long history of safe use “conflicting messages” between different ministries and regulatory agencies were hampering progress in delivering the technology to farmers. She also echoed the need for African women in science to intensify engagement with government and help clarify long-standing misconceptions on the technology.