Regulatory Authorities Insist Genetically Modified Food Crops Safe for Consumption
James Emejo in Abuja
Regulatory institutions have reassured that Genetically Modified (GM) crops including the PBR Cowpea, and Tela Maize remained safe and healthy for human consumption.
They also maintained that the technology remained critical for achieving food security and economic prosperity in Nigeria and Africa in general.
Participants at the Biosafety and Biotechnology Stakeholders’ engagement, which involved regulators from Ethiopia and Mozambique in Abuja, also commended Nigeria’s giant strides in biotechnology management.
Speaking in an interview with THISDAY, Senior Manager/Head, Regulatory Affairs at African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Dr. Francis Nang’ayo, while assuring on the safety of genetically altered crops said the technology is founded on objective science that evidence-based.
He said, “And that’s why we don’t just wake up in a day and say here is a GM product, go and use it. It takes 10 to 15 years of concerted research and development to develop a product and goes through processes where all the concern about safety is examined by regulatory agencies.”
Also, speaking at the meeting, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, said “People from across the continent have come to Nigeria to witness what is happening with crops that have been investigated and have been found reliable in solving bedevilling issues across the continent.”
Also, the Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, said biotechnology applications have the capacity to transform nations’ economies, especially in the agricultural sector in African economies, adding that the continent should be a major beneficiary of the technological solutions.
He said, “Most farmers in Africa, don’t look neat, they look economically deprived and whatever you can think about. But this technology if well applied will empower so many African farmers.”