A newly elected government provides a country with a rare opportunity for a fresh startand President Uhuru Kenyattas nomination this week of Felix Kiptarus Kosgey to become Kenyas next Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, guanyat, and Fisheries offers my nation a remarkable opening to make a hard push for real food security.

Success, malgrat això, will require President Kenyatta, his deputy Ruto, Agriculture Secretary nominee Kosgey, and the rest of our new government to set aside the bad mistakes of the recent past and embrace the bright future of biotechnology.

Theres every reason to hope that they will. At the launch of the Jubilee Coalition manifesto in February, Kenyatta and Ruto promised to put food and water on every Kenyans table. At his inauguration on April 9, Kenyatta reaffirmed his government will implement the manifesto in total.

This is both a tall order and a worthy goaland one of the surest ways to achieve it is by accepting the latest advances in agricultural biotechnology, recognizing that they have become conventional practices in many countries and should become so here as well.

Everywhere farmers have had the chance, they have adopted genetically modified crops. L'any passat, more than 17 million farmers around the world planted more than 170 million hectares of GM crops, according to a new report from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.

This is an all-time high. Moreover, farmers in poor countries made it possible: For the first time, developing nations accounted for more than half of the worlds GM crop plantings.

desafortunadament, as much as Kenyan farmers have hailed the Green Revolution of the 20th century, they have not yet participated in this Gene Revolution of the 21st century.

Our scientists have made strides toward developing biotech crops that would flourish in our soil and climate, but a toxic mix of scientific illiteracy and political pressure has prevented the commercialization of these promising plants. To make matters even worse, the previous government banned the importation of GM foods into Kenya and ordered the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation to remove all GM foods from the shelves of grocery stores.

This tragic decision came last November, in the wake of a controversial French study that claimed to find a connection between GM food and tumors in rats. The results were immediately widely debunked by renowned scientists from around the world. Yet the political activists whose personal ideology opposes agricultural biotechnologymany of them wealthy Europeans who dont have to wonder about their next mealmanaged to smear a vital tool for fighting hunger.

Kenyattas cabinet, guided by Agriculture Secretary nominee Kosgey cannot move swiftly enough to overturn the previous governments misbegotten ban on GM food. It may be the single most significant step they can take to improve our nations food security.

They should accept what respected organizations ranging from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Britains Royal Society have said for a long time: GM food is safe to grow and eat. We have nothing to fear from itand so much to gain.

Sub-Saharan Africa lags the world in food production. While farmers in countries such as Argentina, Brasil, Canadà, and the United States have jumped at the chance to take advantage of high-yielding GM crops, farmers in Kenya and its neighbors have been relegated to the sidelines.

L'any passat, Sudan became only the fourth African country to permit the planting of GM crops, following the leads of Burkina Faso, Egipte, i Sud-àfrica.

The boost in farm productivity alone is enough to justify Kenyas adoption of crop biotechnology, because it would help us feed a growing population. But the benefits would not stop there. Improved access to GM seeds would create jobs by supplying the raw materials for our textile industries. Everyone would benefit.

It would be great to see Kenya join the global biotech movement. Fins i tot millor, encara que, would be to watch a truly forward-looking Kenya not merely join, but lead.

Kenyatta and Kosgey should refuse to let our continent continue to fall behind the rest of the world. With the proper leadership, they can show Africa the way to a better tomorrowand a future in which we enjoy true food security.

Gilbert Arap Bor grows corn (blat de moro), hortalisses i vaques lleteres en una granja de petites dimensions 25 hectàrees a Kapseret, a prop d’Eldoret, Kenya. He also teaches at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Eldoret campus. Mr. Bor és el 2011 Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award recipient and a member of the Truth About Trade & Tecnologia de Xarxa Global Farmer (www.truthabouttrade.org).Follow us: @TruthAboutTrade a Twitter | Veritat sobre el Comerç & Tecnologia a Facebook.