By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, has disclosed that the agency would soon introduce genetically modified crops into Nigeria.
According Prof Ogbadu, the Federal Government has approved some GM crops and in two years’ time, they would be released in the country.
She gave the names of the government’s approved GM crops as rice, beans and sorghum.
Speaking at a special session of the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology held at the Ministry of Communications in Abuja on Wednesday, the NABDA boss noted that at the moment, the crops were going through the final trial prior to their release by selected farmers.
“The products that are in the pipeline have been carefully selected to meet the needs of our people. Biotechnology is not really new. It enables the introduction of genes that may not be in an organism for the benefit of mankind.
“Some genetic modification allow for the introduction of insect-resistant organisms so that a crop can do well. It takes about 10 years to ensure the safety of genetically modified organisms.
“We have lost out in many other technologies. We should not lose out in this technology to take care of hunger in the land,” Prof Ogbadu stated.
She allayed the fears some Nigerians may be nursing concerning GM crops being poisonous.
A GMO is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.
GMOs are used to produce many medications and genetically modified foods and are widely used in scientific research and the production of other goods.
The first genetically modified mouse was in 1973, and the first plant was produced in 1983.
In Nigeria, there have been controversies on the issue.
In June 2016, Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, said no genetically modified organisms were officially grown in Nigeria.
“What we have approved are for field trials,” she said, explaining that, “All the GMOs in Nigeria officially approved are under experimental fields.”
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