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Biotecnología y Bioseguridad

Capacity building of regulatory agencies for handling genetically modified crops, products and processed foods (TCP/KEN/3001)

    Country: Kenya
    Starting Date: March 2004
    FAO Contribution: US$238 000
    Duration: 12 months

Project summary:

The Government of Kenya (GoK) believes that judicious use of biotechnology can assist them in increasing food production and availability. To this effect, GoK has ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The National Council of Science and Technology was designated to oversee the implementation of biosafety regulations and guidelines, within which the National Biosafety Committee was established, comprising representatives from the Government, non-governmental organizations, and research institutions. A National Biosafety Framework was produced and a draft Biosafety Law prepared through a UNEP/GEF pilot project. The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS), and the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) are the regulatory agencies for biotechnology and biosafety issues, but they lack the capacity in effectively undertaking biosafety operations, risk assessment and monitoring of genetically modified (GM) crops, products and processed foods. GoK requested FAO assistance in building the capacities of its regulatory agencies.

The proposal aims to build the capacities of Kenya's principal regulatory bodies KEPHIS, KBS, and DVS to efficiently and effectively carry out risk assessments and monitoring of various genetically modified products of biotechnology.

The project will provide the services of two TCDC consultants specialized respectively in ecological aspects of GM crops and biosafety information (13 weeks in total), three national consultants specialized respectively in agricultural biotechnology, risk analysis, and legal and trade aspects of biotechnology (15 weeks in total) and FAO advisory and supervisory technical services (ten weeks in total). In addition, the project will cover official travel, materials, equipment, two local contracts, in-country training and a study tour, and general as well as direct operating costs.

Regulatory officers and technicians from KEPHIS, KBS, and DVS will receive practical and theoretical training in molecular biology techniques, GM detection and quantification, biosafety, biotechnology, risk analysis, as well as on legal and trade aspects. Biosafety related technical information will be made available to relevant Kenyan regulatory bodies that will assist the National Biosafety Committee. The project will strengthen the Kenyan regulatory agencies' capacities for inspection and monitoring of GM products as well enhance cooperation among regulatory agencies within the country and in the region.

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