Nigeria has not embraced GMO – Minister

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Agriculture in Nigeria. Twitter photo.

By Ginika Okoye

Nigeria has not adopted Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetic technology in agriculture and food production.

Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the clarification in Abuja.

The minister told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that although genetic modifications had been taking place in America, Nigeria had yet to adopt the technology.

He said that the government was, however, repositioning its research institutes and universities of agriculture to conduct research on how to boost agricultural production and attain food security.

“I am aware there is scepticism, not to say fear.

“But the Americans will say that the Europeans are simply jealous, that as far as they are concerned, genetic modification is permanently taking place; that is what they say.

“Bees carry pollen from one plant to another and transfer characters; so, the Americans are at ease with it (GMOs). The Europeans say no, they will rather settle for hybrid seeds.’’

He said that Nigeria had not officially embraced GMOs and said: “We are watching.’’

“This is why the research institutes and the universities have to concentrate on agriculture. That is their job – checking these things and making sure they find solutions to it.’’

Ogbeh expressed concern over the ageing farming population in the country.

He said that the Federal Government has been encouraging youths as well as women to engage in agriculture.

On the Federal Government’s Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme, the minister said that the N30 billion, which the government owed agro-dealers, would soon be defrayed.

Describing the scheme as a good initiative, Ogbeh, nonetheless, said that it was marred by corruption and abuses by the dealers.

He said that claims for seeds alone in the GES scheme totalled over N9 billion.

The minister said that the government was restructuring the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) to ensure the reduction of interest rates on loans to seven per cent.

According to him, if this happens, the GES scheme will no longer be necessary.

He, however, assured farmers of government’s support through the provision of improved seeds and modern equipment to make farming easier. (NAN)

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  1. OFAB Nigeria Reply

    Interesting write up! Unfortunately it seems the Honourable Minister is not up to date on the events going on in the research institutes. In as much as we are yet to adopt it at commercial level, serious research has been ongoing on Rice, Cowpea, Sorghum and Cotton to produce indigenous GM crops resistant to insects and nutritionally enhanced. The Institute for Agricultural Research, ABU Zaria has taken the lead in developing improved varieties of cowpea resistant to the Maruca insect and aimed at improving productivity. So also the National Cereals Research Institute, Badeggi is working to produce rice that produces well at low Nitrogen levels.

    Similarly, we cant deny the fact that agriculture is facing many challenges of which diseases and climate change is part of it. If the minister wishes to provide improved seeds for farmers, breeders and researchers should be supported, if not we end up importing seeds at all times. The world have done ahead to adopt technologies that will help improve productivity and Genetic Modification is one of such technologies which also be encouraged by Nigerians and the Government.

    Attached are Pictures of rice, cowpea, cotton and sorghum research ongoing at various stations. GMOs are not rocket Science! Synergy with research Institutes is strongly encouraged too.

    1. Rotimi Reply

      I think the minister is talking about specific research on Genetically Modified Seeds regarding the controversy it is generating at some international quarters. I agree it is an interesting write up. Asking for more research makes him updated and progressive.

      Research does not end and truly, some countries and even some citizens in America are still defending GES and foods because some attribute the rate of cancerous infections to GES consumption.

      Certain GES are put on hold even in America pending when their FDA I think they call it will certify them fit for consumption. I have read about that.

      I am no Agric specialists but I do read interesting articles and I am certain he is correct. Nothing is unfortunate about the write up.