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May 22, 2018 @ 16:45

GMO is the way to go for Nigerian Agriculture

Nigeria has fully adopted Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) technology into its agriculture system, said Rose Gidado, Scientific Officer and Assistant Director of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).

Nigerian government has now put GMO system into two of its agencies. The National Biosafety Management Development Agency which promotes, coordinates and does policy formulation on GMOs, research and development and awareness creation; and National Biosafety Management Agency NBMA which regulates the system, making it ready for full implementation.

In line with this, Gidado addressed some misconception and vilification of the GMO system in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES. The NABDA assistant director explained that the GMO system brings more good than harm and adapting the system will bring benefit to Nigeria.

“I can say they are even safer than our conventional foods that are not regulated,” she said. Explaining that the GMO system only makes the crops more immune to uncontrollable factors that usually damage crops like infestation and bad weather. By putting together desirable traits of certain crops like Sorghum, a draught tolerant crop to maize which is a rain fed crop, it could address the lack of rain in certain areas.

She further explained that the safety of these crops are being meticulously studied “These safety testing of the GMO products itself are being progressively developed by international bodies responsible for food safety systems like the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) among others. These products also undergo a lot of rigorous safety test procedure here in Nigeria”

Gidado called out the vilification of GMO crops saying it is politically motivated. “The truth is that people come up with fake publications just to undo the technology. We have agro-allied industries that this technology does not promote and it is not going down well with these companies.”

At present, Gidado said they have covered at least 30 percent of Nigeria in terms of level of awareness and is making continuous effort to spread the right information.

“We have been doing awareness since 2009. NABDA was created in 2001 and in 2009 OFAB was launched as a project that houses the awareness. It’s an awareness outfit on GM technology to address the concerns of the general public, scientific bodies, religious bodies traditional bodies and the rest because policy makers and Nigerians are being fed with contradictory news and information about GMOs,” Gigado said.

We have been doing awareness since 2009. NABDA was created in 2001 and in 2009 OFAB was launched as a project that houses the awareness. It’s an awareness outfit on GM technology to address the concerns of the general public, scientific bodies, religious bodies traditional bodies and the rest because policy makers and Nigerians are being fed with contradictory news and information about GMOs.



 

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