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April 21, 2024
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NGO calls for increased gov’t investment in GMOs for food security

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By Bukola Adewumi

Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has called on the Federal Government to allocate more resources towards Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) to ensure food security across the nation.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, CASER’s Convener, Mr Frank Tietie, emphasised the importance of GMOs in agricultural practices.

Tietie explained that GMOs are organisms whose genetic makeup has been altered through scientific engineering to achieve specific objectives in laboratories.

He highlighted the benefits of GMOs, particularly in crops like cowpea, cotton, and maize, which are fortified to resist pests and weeds, thereby enhancing yields.

Tietie urged the government and stakeholders to disregard concerns raised by detractors who advocate for the banning of GMOs.

Instead, he urged investment in the provision of GMO seeds to farmers, which would not only improve agricultural productivity, but also contribute to environmental conservation by reducing the need for herbicides and pesticides.

Tietie reminded stakeholders that Nigeria has been involved in research and development in biotechnology since 1987, recognising the potential benefits of the technology.

“We are worried by the day that ignorance by some people, who have no knowledge on the advance of biotechnology, is dismissing the efforts and benefits of biotechnology advancement.

“The Nigerian government, as far back as 1987, put legislation in place to encourage the application of biotechnology and genetic engineering as instrument of social economic development.”

He emphasised the need to embrace scientific advancements and not hinder progress based on unfounded fears.

While advocating for the adoption of GMOs, Tietie stressed that there is no evidence linking GM food to any health risks.

He called on the government, agricultural development stakeholders, and financial institutions to collaborate in providing genetically modified tela maize and BT cowpea to farmers across the country.

However, some stakeholders have expressed concerns regarding the potential adverse effects of GMOs on the environment and public health, highlighting uncertainties that may exist. (NAN)

Edited by Deji Abdulwahab

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