At least 10 manufacturers including Bidco East Africa have been allowed to import 28 million kilogrammes of genetically modified organism (GMO) cotton seed for processing of animal feeds, marking the first time that Kenya has allowed such imports for processing purposes.
Treasury Cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani said the manufacturers will be allowed to ship in the product that is fully GMO but to be used only for the processing of animal feeds.
Kenya had placed a ban on imports of GMO products in 2012. The country has only been allowing shipping in of these products for research purposes only.
“The imported cotton seed cake shall be either GMO from BT cotton or non-GMO,” said Mr Yatani in a public notice.
The Treasury has also allowed 31 millers in total to import 3.8 million bags of yellow maize with minimal traces of GMO that has been capped at 0.9 percent.
The new requirement is a reversal from the previous directive that would only allow millers to ship in yellow maize that is 100 percent non-GMO.
The relaxation on rules comes as a reprieve to millers who have been struggling with a shortage of raw material as they could not import the commodity citing lack of pure non-GMO maize in the world market.
The previous gazette notice had been published in November but millers were unable to import due to restrictive measures on purity by the government.
Bidco has been allowed to import up to 50,000 tonnes of yellow maize for its animal feeds unit, making it, together with MS Cateress Milling Company the top importers of the produce.
The price of animal feed has remained high since last year in what millers attributed to a shortage of raw material.
The current average price of a 70 kilogramme bag of dairy meal is Sh2,700 from Sh2,000 a year ago with layers going for Sh4,000 from Sh3,200, broiler while pig feed averaging at Sh3,000 from Sh2,400 previously.