Biosafety high level consultative meeting in Nairobi

Group picture of the participants

The NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE) in conjunction with the Program for Biosafety Systems and The National Biosafety Authority held a high policy Consultation in Nairobi, on 12th May, 2017 to discuss the process regarding the handling of biosafety dossiers in Kenya. This meeting brought together stakeholders including Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA), the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organization (KALRO), the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Ministry of Agriculture, and Kenya Plant health inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

The Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and representatives from the office of the Deputy President was also in attendance. In 2016, the NBA gave a conditional approval for Bt maize and Bt cotton applications for general release and recommended that they commence the National Performance Trials (NPT) under auspices of KEPHIS. One of the key conditions was that the applicant should conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of experimental sites and submits report to NEMA for approval before conducting the NPT. The applicant submitted the EIA report as required but to date no decision has been made on the NPT.

The representative of the NEMA emphasized that the EIA report should be site specific not combined report as it was submitted by the applicant. Delegates from South Africa response gave a different view on the issue of EIA as requested by NBA through NEMA that in South Africa EIA is only required for the crops that are indigenous and that thus far all the approval already given in South Africa, no EIA has been required. NEPAD Agency ABNE presented case studies of similar multilocation trials and general release experiments currently being conducted in Ethiopia, Swaziland and Nigeria. It is a hope that this high level consultative meeting will facilitate a coordinated working approach and strengthen the biosafety regulatory framework in Kenya.