Kenya has ended its decadelong ban on growing and importing genetically modified crops, according to a statement released by the office of the country’s new president, William Ruto.
The decision comes in response to the recognition that Kenyan farmers need help warding off pests and disease as they suffer from drought conditions, according to the statement.
“We are adopting emerging and new alternatives to farming that will ensure early maturity and more production of food to cushion millions of Kenyans from perennial famine,” Ruto said in a tweet.
The end to Kenya’s ban on biotech crops comes just a couple of months after U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the two countries would begin negotiating to remove agricultural trade barriers.
Kenya has been getting a lot of attention from the Biden administration lately. Last month, Tai led a U.S. presidential delegation to Kenya to attend Ruto's inauguration.
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The U.S. and Kenya “will consider measures to facilitate agricultural trade and enhance transparency and understanding of the application of science- and risk-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures,” the Office of the USTR said at the time.
On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Ruto to thank him for supporting a United Nations Security Council denunciation of Russia’s claim to annexing parts of Ukraine. Blinken also promised U.S. help to address the “fertilizer crisis” in Kenya.
Ruto is also getting visits from U.S. lawmakers. The Kenyan president tweeted a photo Monday of himself with Republican Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and James Inhofe of Oklahoma. Also in the photo is U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman.
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