Agency worries over GM grains

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Dr Rufus Ebegba, the Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA). Twitter photo.

Worried by importation of genetically modified grains by some companies, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), has warned importers to comply with the Agency’s import guidelines.

Dr. Rufus Ebegba, Director General/CEO NBMA, made the appeal during an interactive session with Grain Importers.

Ebegba noted that over the years most seed companies have been importing grains from countries where most of the grains were genetically modified.

“Some companies still feign ignorance about where GM grains are produced across the globe and continue to import from such countries, this meeting is to enlighten the companies and ensure that everybody keys into the Biosafety system.”

“Companies have been importing GMOs for years even before the establishment of NBMA. Now that a regulatory agency is in place, the need to abide by the NBMA Act 2015 is necessary,” he said.

He said that the federal government is interested in providing a conducive environment for businesses to thrive but it is the responsibility of the business community to comply with the necessary laws and guidelines provided by the government.

He informed the companies that border agencies of the federal government would not allow any bulk importation of genetically modified seeds or grains into the country without a Biosafety permit.

The Director General who noted that some companies have already been granted Biosafety permits by the agency said that the agency would not compromise its stand in ensuring that the health of Nigerians and the environment are not threatened by any potential risk posed by GMOs.

In a message, Dr. Mathew Dore, Country Coordinator, Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS) urged the companies to work together and cooperate with NBMA for the successful execution of the import guidelines.

The participants at the meeting, which attracted over 50 grain importing companies, and representatives of ministries and agencies, agreed to work with NBMA for the formation of a strong and viable seed/grains importer’s network that will allow for effective monitoring and supervision.


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