By Roy Hezron

Principal Secretary in the State Department for University Education and Research Amb. Simon Nabukwesi has today commissioned a Molecular Biology Laboratory at National Biosafety Authority (NBA) to regulate Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) in the country.

Speaking at NBA headquarters at National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) building in Nairobi, the PS  noted that the laboratory will offer its services at a reasonable fee and will become the National GMO reference laboratory in Kenya since NBA is the focal point on matters of GMO regulation.

“In Africa, Kenya is in the forefront in research, development and commercial activities of GMOs. In this regard, efforts have been made to develop capacity in detection of approved GMO events as well as for aiding in surveillance to assure the public and build confidence in the safety of introduced GMOs,” said Amb. Nabukwesi.

The laboratory ,which was funded by the National Research Fund, will offer key services including supporting the government to safeguard the safety of human and animal health against the backdrop of the government’s ban on the importation and consumption of GM foods.

The laboratory will also contribute to the effective implementation of the provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety given that the NBA is the country’s national focal point.

It will also enhance surveillance of GMO products to curb the potential breach of security through the use of biological agents by hostile non-State actors currently active in the Horn of Africa.

Other services include testing of products of emerging biotechnologies such as genome editing among others. It will also contribute to training and capacity building for students and scientists in research and higher learning institutions.

“The Kenya Vision 2030 and the Vision’s implementation Medium Term Plans recognize the role of Biotechnology in addressing agricultural, medical and environmental challenges,” said the PS.

He added that biotechnology has been positioned as a key enabler in fostering economic growth and promoting the well-being of citizens through innovations.”

On 20th June, 2022 the PS also commissioned Molecular and Microbiology Laboratory at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST). He also commissioned a Soil Analysis Laboratory Facility at Rongo University on June 21, 2022.

Both the laboratories are funded by National Research Fund (NRF).

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