Embracing Genetically Modified (GM) crops will be very helpful if Nigeria is to meet her set goals on attaining food security and reduction on import dependency.
This assertion is being made by the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba.
Mr Ebegba while speaking in Lagos during a one-day sensitization workshop on the state of Biosafety in Nigeria assured that the NBMA is not resting on its oars in ensuring that only safe and approved genetically modified seeds and grains for food and feed processing are allowed into the Nigerian market.
He said: “Globally, safe science and technology have been known to be drivers of economic change world over, Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind that is why the federal government through NBMA makes sure it approves only safe application of modern biotechnology for the economic development of the country particularly in the Agricultural sector.”
What are GM crops?
Genetically modified crops (commonly referred to as GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, whose DNA has been modified using genetic engineering methods.
In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.
Food crops for example can be genetically engineered to be resistant to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or just to improve the nutrient profile of the crop.
With a lot of misinformation being spread around the safety of GM crops and other Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), the NBMA boss said it owes the country and the populace the duty of setting the records straight.
“I want to use this medium to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government through the Agency is doing everything possible to ensure that we are all safe.” the NBMA boss stated.
“Nigerians should learn to trust the federal government and allow the Agency to do what will be in their best interest.
“They need not be afraid as their health and wellbeing are paramount in the mind of the Agency as they relate to Biosafety,” he added.
Aside from the resource persons from the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), representatives of the Lagos State Ministries of Health and Agriculture were also present at the one-day sensitization workshop.