Genetically modified crops designed to enhance productivity, farm efficiency — NABDA
The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) says genetically modified crops are meant to have a positive impact on farm income due to enhanced production and efficiency on the farm.
The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Lucy Ugbado, made this known on when she featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
Ugbado said replacements for conventional crops rather will help to improve yields for self-sufficiency in food production.
She said the benefits farmers would get from the use of genetically modified crops would significantly outweigh the savings they would make without them.
The director-general was speaking against the backdrop of condemnation of genetically modified crops by anti-GMO, who have alleged that the consumption of such products can cause gastrointestinal and immune system disorder.
The anti-GMO groups have also alleged that genetically modified products can accelerate aging and cause infertility, among other health conditions.
“Genetically modified crops and products are only to complement.
“I want to tell you that these products, when they are released farmers see the advantage of using them.
“They will not mind going back to buy (them) because the benefits that they will derive from use of these crops far outweigh what savings they would have done without them.
“If for instance, you have to spray your farm eight times with the conventional seed, with GM it will be reduced to two times.
“You are saving a lot on the chemicals, the money you’ll spend on the purchase of these pesticides, that farmer will rather spend less on these chemical.’’
Ugbado described as untrue, reports that genetically modified products were hazardous to humans.
She said the reports were baseless because while the use of pesticides on farmlands was hazardous to the land, plants and the farmer, GMOs contained substances that could irritate pests only.
“There is no product or genetically modified food that can be released except it is substantially equivalent to its conventional counterpart and tested through research and tests.
“This test must be carried out to ensure that it is substantially equivalent to its conventional counterpart.”
The NABDA boss called on Nigerians to verify any allegation from competent authorities before accepting or condemning the use of genetically modified products.
According to her, most arguments against GMOs “are founded and based on ignorance and mischief’’.
Ugbado urged the critics of the technology to put aside self-interest and to seek more knowledge of the technology in the interest of the country.
On Europe’s opposition to GMOs, she said that the continent “consumes genetically modified products, but they do not cultivate them, because they are way behind in the technology but they import GM’s worth116 billion dollars annually’’.
She said that Europe still depended heavily of pesticides, adding that without GMOs, some of their companies would run out of business.
“What that means is that chemical companies can no longer sell chemicals.
“Their volume of sale has drastically reduced.
“Who are the chemical companies? They are European,’’ she said.