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Stakeholders counsel farmers on benefits of GMOs

By Cornelius Essen, Abuja
16 August 2016   |   4:24 am
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said: “We are here to deal with the issue of a new technology. It is scientific and we don’t want sentiments to have upper hand on the issue.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh

Stakeholders have called on Nigerian farmers to take advantage of modified technologies to increase yield.

A debate on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is raging.

Participants, who made the submission yesterday at the Experts’ Meeting on Biosafety and Biotechnology- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) organised by the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Science and technology in Abuja, urged an intense campaign.

They maintained that there was nothing wrong with the technologies geared towards guaranteeing food security for the teeming population.

Earlier, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, told the gathering that all and sundry needed to be educated.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said: “We are here to deal with the issue of a new technology. It is scientific and we don’t want sentiments to have upper hand on the issue.

“We have to know and have full knowledge of GMOs. We may have to call on the public to contribute to it because Nigerians are not aware of the present development in the world of science.”

The Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, said Nigerian farmers have been doing modification over the years, adding that the technology was not new in the country.

According to her, plants and animal modifications had been in place since creation, adding that: “It is a matter of moving desirable genes from same specie to the next generation and it results to hybrid.”

She said there were four genetically modified commercialised crops in Egypt, Sudan, South Africa and Burkina Faso, while no biosafety laws exist in 32 countries on the continent.

“According to WHO, genetically modified foods currently on the international market have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present danger to human health. In addition, the general population in the countries where they have been proved has shown no negative effects on human health as a result of the consumption of such foods,” she added.