We, La Via Campesina, the international peasant movement with over 182 local and national organisations in 81 countries from Africa, Asia Europe and Americas stands in solidarity with the Kenyan Peasants League (KPL) our member organization in their legal struggle to continue the ban on GMOs in Kenya. In October 2022 the Kenyan Government lifted the ban on importation and cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) that had been in place for ten years.
The conservatory orders maintaining the GMO ban by the High Court in December 2022 and the decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold the conservatory orders due to a lack of adequate public participation in the decision by the government to lift the GMO ban gave a temporary relief to the struggle.
The legal struggle will start at the High Court soon. We call upon all social movements and activists to mobilize and support the Kenya Peasant League in their continued struggle against the lifting of the ban on importation and cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in Kenya.
We call on the government of Kenya to respect the rights of peasants to determine their future. Lifting the GMO ban goes against the rights of the peasants (article 10 – Right to Participation; 15- Right to Food and Food Sovereignty; 19 – Right to Seeds and 20 – Right to Biological Diversity) enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP).
Again, lifting the GMO ban contravenes Article 9 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), also known as “Seed Treaty”, which affirms that no law(s) should “limit any rights that farmers have to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material”. We know from experiences in many countries that have allowed GMO production that the local seed systems suffered a lot. The local biodiversity and the environment suffered too due to excessive use of toxic agro-inputs required to guarantee GMO crops maximum yield. People’s health suffered too.
We, thus believe that if the ban on GMOs is lifted, this will not only be a direct attack on the peasants way of life in Kenya, but the East African region and the African Continent as it will unleash the untold destruction of the peasant managed seeds systems. The continent is already under enormous pressure to reformed seed legislations in favour of commercial seed companies and big agribusinesses.
Peasants’ organizations and other social movements will continue to mobilize so that the general GMO ban in Kenya prevails.
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