By CONRAD ONYANGO Government will likely lift the ‘blanket’ ban on GM crops April 2013 when devolved systems of governments become operational, a representative of the ministry of Agriculture has revealed. The source who said is not mandated to address the press, distanced involvement of the Agriculture ministry in the ban. She cited allocation of government roles to individuals with little knowledge on operations of various state organs and political influence as reasons to blame for the GMO ban. “The ministry of Agriculture supports GMO in the country, its the Ministry of Public health who have banned the crops,” she said during the 63rd Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) meeting at a Nairobi hotel . “The ban is temporary, just to collect more views from the public and all stakeholders. It could be lifted or not because some bans are good while others are not,” she continued. The statement supports earlier claims by biotechnologist, that the government did not consult National Biosafety Authority and other agencies, going against the law. “Public health ministry overstepped its mandate when it slapped a ban on the crops in a single event,” said Director of Regulatory Affairs at Africa Harvest, Dr Silas Obukosia. The representative however said devolved governments to be headed by professionals will wade off political interference in decision making process. “Most of those opposing GM crops will not be political office bearers after the general elections,” she paused. During the forum, biotechnology experts warned Kenya is bound to loose billions of shillings if the ‘blanket’ ban on GM crops will not be lifted. Experts reckoned Kenya as a hub for the importation and exportation of the crops is likely to suffer revenue losses from both its regional and international connections. “More GM food pass through Kenya before it reaches other African economies. The ban is not just effective for trade,” said Obukosia. The ban, he said risks cutting trade relations between Kenya and United States, Brazil and China, the major markets for GM crops. Kenya is placed in the third position in Africa after Egypt and South Africa in embracing biotechnology. It leads in East Africa region after having conducted upto six confined Field trials(CFT’s) on Maize, Sweet potatoes, Cotton, Cassava, Sorghum and Cassava. Obukosia also indicated students currently undertaking biotechnology courses in over five local Universities will be affected by the ban. “This will discourage capacity building at higher institutions of higher learning. Banning GMO is an indication of a science that has no market in the country,” said Obukosia. It was noted University of Nairobi, Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta, Maseno, Moi Universities all have either a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology or a Masters in the course.