NIGERIA – The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and the Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN) have stepped up to put to an end misleading information about Genetically Modified (GM) crops by activists.

The agencies have written to the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, listing the economic benefits of Genetically Modified (GM) crops, in response to a recent letter sent to the Senate by the Global Prolife Alliance titled; National Security Threat: Biotech Terrorism Using GMO Seeds.

Dr Rose Gidado, the Director at NABDA emphasized the crucial role of agricultural biotechnology in addressing food shortages and assured the public of safety measures taken before releasing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Despite the proven safety records and acceptance among farmers, Gidado expressed concerns about persistent opposition from various groups, including organic farming advocates, philosophical or religious objectors, and those driven by political and economic motives.

She highlighted the lack of scientific evidence supporting these claims and warned about the weaponization of fabricated stories to mislead the public.

Gidado stressed the importance of agricultural biotechnology in crop improvement, citing examples such as Bt crops’ success in providing protection against pests. 

On his part, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, the Director General of NABDA in a letter written to the Senate said genetically modified crops are not a national security threat or form of biotech terrorism.

He said the crops have been rigorously tested and regulated before commercial release to ensure safety for human health and the environment.

Transgenic Cowpea and TELA maize were developed by Nigerian scientists to benefit our nation’s smallholder farmers. The transgenic cowpea is resistant to destructive pod borers, which typically destroy 80% of cowpea crops. This can help farmers boost their yields significantly”, Professor Mustapha said.

He added that there is international scientific consensus on GM crop safety, upheld by regulatory agencies globally, including World Health Organization, FAO, and many others.

Nigeria’s genetically modified products have also passed biosafety assessments before approval for commercial planting”

On its part, the BSN in a letter signed by its President, Prof. Sylvia Uzochukwu, said as plant and food biotechnology promoters and experts, they urge the Senate not to heed the scientifically unfounded advice.

BSN said transgenic crops can lead to increased farm incomes due to higher yields and reduced production costs.

We urge the Senate to consider the overwhelming international scientific consensus on the safety and benefits of transgenic crops and to continue supporting policies that promote agricultural innovation.

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