Bishops in Kenya take new stance on genetically modified foods

August 1, 2011

Nairobi, Kenya, August 1 (ENInews)--Roman Catholic bishops in Kenya told people
to eat genetically modified foods to check starvation amid a serious drought in
the Horn of Africa.

The bishops spoke in response to opposition from some non-governmental
organizations and legislators to a government plan to import genetically
modified maize from South Africa.

"We are in favor of non-genetically-modified foods, but if there is a crisis and
they can resurrect the person for one week, eat them," said Archbishop Zacchaeus
Okoth of Kisumu, who chairs the Justice and Peace Commission of the Kenya
Episcopal Conference.

Okoth said the drought and food insecurity threatened the lives of many Kenyans.
This had been worsened by the rising price of basic foods, the deteriorating
condition of livestock, and high rates of inflation, he said. 

Groups opposed to importing foods made with genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) argue they may harm people's health. But Professor Shaukat Shabairo, head
of the National Council of Science and Technology, said the foods could help
improve the situation.

"If you are being faced with a calamity and there are no options to explore,
GMOs would be a viable source," said Shabairo. 

The UN says nearly 2.9 million Kenyans need food aid due to the drought caused
by failed rains. 

"It is sin for somebody to die in Kenya of hunger. It is total neglect on the
part of the government," said Bishop Cornelius Korir.