• The collapse of Kenyan sugar factories was largely attributed to the importation of tax-free sugar in the country due to unfair competition.
• Sifuna's claim came hot on the heels of the arrival of a ship with imported maize at the port of Mombasa.
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna has added a new twist to the raging debate on GMO importation saying it's not about achieving food security in the country.
In a statement on Tuesday, the senator claimed the underlying issue is the commercial interests of traders on one side and maize farmers on the other.
"The GMO debate isn't about food security. It's the new frontier of this war between farmers and traders," Sifuna said.
He said the war is akin to one witnessed several years ago between sugar farmers and importers of the precious commodity.
"The commercial war between farmers and traders has raged on for years in the Sugar belt. Sadly the sugar farmers lost that one. We must stand with our maize farmers," Sifuna said.
The collapse of Kenyan sugar factories was largely attributed to the importation of tax-free sugar in the country due to unfair competition.
A report that detailed the faces behind the illegal importation of sugar was on August 9, 2018, thrashed by MPs who accused former Kieni MP Kanini Kega-led task force of doing a shoddy job.
Bribery claims rocked Parliament as MPs ganged up to reject the report that had implicated former Treasury CS Henry Rotich and his EAC counterpart Adan Mohamed.
Sifuna's claim of the real tussle on GMOs being a fight between farmers and importers came hot on the heels of the arrival of a ship with imported maize at the port of Mombasa.
The Kenya Ports Authority said in a statement Monday that some 37 vessels are expected at the port in the coming days.
The first ship docked days after Trade CS Moses Kuria said Thursday last week that the government has opened the window for duty-free importation of GMO and non-GMO maize into the country.
He said the imports will be shipped by the private sector.
The arrival of the first batch of the consignment came even before a gazette notice was released approving the importation.
Several leaders have questioned the importation of the maize and the speed with which it was done considering that farmers are still in the harvest season.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei called on the government to reconsider the directive to cushion maize farmers in Rift Valley.
"It's not fair to us maize farmers because of its wrong timing. In the Rift Valley, we are currently harvesting maize, which shall lower maize prices,” Cherargei said.
On Tuesday, Cherargei led MPs from the Rift Valley in calling on the government to stop the duty-free maize importation.
“It seems there is a deliberate move to continue killing maize farming in the country as was seen in the previous regime," Cherargei said.
The senator claimed the maize importation was being run by cartels.
"And this time they appear more aggressive and ruthless," he said.