Implications of Import Regulations and Information Requirements under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for GM Commodities in Kenya

Virginia Kimani
Pesticides and Agricultural Resources Center
Guillaume Gruère
International Food Policy Research Institute

This study investigates the implications of implementing information requirements under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety’s Article 18.2.a in Kenya. It also assesses the challenges associated with the upcoming introduction of import regulations for genetically modified (GM) food in a country that largely imports and transports grain in East Africa. The analysis shows that Kenya has been importing GM grains for the past few years and that border control under pending regulation will be difficult and costly. While the Protocol’s information requirement’s “may contain” option does not require too much effort, implementing the strict “does contain” option will significantly increase the cost of trade and potentially the price of grains in Kenya. These results suggest that a regional approach to import control is necessary, and that Kenya should reconsider its support to the “does contain” option of the Protocol.

Key words: Genetically modified food, international trade, Kenya, Cartagena Protocol.