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Group Berates FG Over Bio-Safety Law

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Lists Its Threat To Human Health

A GROUP, Nigeria Against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has faulted the recently signed National Bio-safety Agency Bill into law by the outgoing-President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as a ruse, scam, charade and a veil under which Monsanto, Dupont, Sygenta and similar foreign Bio-tech companies can achieve a strong foothold in the country.

It is requesting that the incoming administration should show its care for the welfare of Nigerians by immediately placing ban on the companies and their product as done in France, Japan and Russia, and should investigate International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), to ascertain if their programs are in the interest of Nigerians.

In a press conference addressed by the representative of the group, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour in Lagos, he noted that aside false promises of higher yields and less pesticide use among others, that GMOs, artificial plant created by invasive scientific manipulation of plant genes at a molecular level, are nothing more than patented pesticide delivery systems designed to increase the sales of poisonous agrochemicals such as Roundup, Glufosinate, Bt 2, 4D, Astrazine and Neonicotinids, adding that such chemicals are sold under dubious labels of being bio-degradable which have since proved to be false. “Seeds that have been genetically modified cannot be replanted.

This is because they are either infertile or due to patent rights these companies claim on the seed. What this does is lock the farmer into dependency on these foreign bio-tech companies for seed every year.

In doing this, a primary input of agriculture, which exists abundantly, is now monopolised and commoditised,” he said. Vivour disclosed that a major disadvantage of the technology is the contamination of natural varieties due to wind and pollen drift, adding that it was first noticed in the corn belt of Mexico prompting a federal judge to order the country’s Ministry of Agriculture to immediately suspend all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country and end the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings.

Said he, “In 2011, scientists in Argentina found long term effects of GMO in certain towns where these crops are grown and these include birth defects and a higher incidence of child cancer caused by glyphosate-a herbicide sprayed on GMO crops and marketed by Mosanto.

The industrial agricultural practices these chemicals on farms create abundance of these toxics chemicals in the air. Research has linked Roundup to Parkinson’s diseases, nervous system damage to kidney failure and various forms of cancer. “In areas where Roundup is frequently used, 80 per cent of children have the toxin in their bloodstream and struggle with a variety of health problems.

Mosanto’s Roundup herbicide is toxic, cause insect and weed immunity, and it has been found in 75 per cent of air and rain test samples in at least one part of the United States.”

Gbadebo stressed that last March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto product Roundup as Carcinogens, a substance that can lead to cancer under certain levels of exposure, stating that their report also indicates that Glyphosate causes DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells studied in laboratories.

“What Nigeria needs are solutions to its peculiar problems. These include accessible transportation and logistics system that incorporates storage and food preservation.

Community shared tractor and mechanical systems that ensures food gets out of the farm in a timely manner. The quality extension service to farmers should be increased to meet world standards by simply improving the conventional farming practices tat are already used around the world.

“We can feed the entire country by integrating companion cropping/permaculture techniques, reforestation of arid areas, alternative infrastructures…Our problems will not be solved by magic seeds, they will only be compounded,” he said.


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