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Formal and informal governance of agricultural biotechnology in Kenya: participation and accountability in controversy surrounding the draft biosafety bill

Harsh, M

Journal of International Development   17 (5) 661-677

July 2005   (First published online June 2005)

Formal governance of agricultural biotechnology in Kenya - i.e. national institutional and policy developments - has been loosely co-ordinated and largely reactive, both in terms of bio-safety and in terms of setting national priorities. At the same time, modern biotechnology developments have been occurring for over a decade, mainly driven by public-private partnerships. Governance of biotechnology has thus been largely informal with strategic decisions being made mainly outside state mechanisms. The distinction between formal and informal governance sheds light on the current draft biosafety bill of Kenya and how it is pivotal for tipping biotechnology developments more towards increased accountability and open participation of farmers and publics. The government of Kenya, non-governmental actors and donors must all make actions to shape a more productive interaction between formal and informal governance to avoid immediate and long-term repercussions.