Imaginature Ltd is a company specialized in cut-flower development. Recently, the company has applied for approval from the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in Kenya for open field trials related to growing GM Gypsophila in the country. Usually the flowers of Gypsophila or also known as “Baby’s Breath” are white in color and are used in floral arrangements and in-door bouquets. The new GM varieties have foreign genetic elements added from the model plant Arabidopsis, which allowed the development of new flower coloration ranging from dark purple to red, to light pink. The plants are targeting the American market. The product was developed in collaboration with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Karlo) under NBA’s supervision. A public notice issued by NBA said that the application was going a science-based review process by NBA, regulatory agencies and independent experts and that the review was meant to ensure that alterations to these flowers have no adverse effects on humans, animals and the environment.
Kenya is currently a top cut flowers grower and exporter to US and European markets. Last year Kenya sold 133 658 tones of cut flowers, which was an increase compared to the 122 825 tones in 2015. Around 100 000 people are employed by cut flower companies in this country.