FG persuades Nigerians, says GMO foods are safe for consumption

Biofortified crops

Federal government agencies have allayed Nigerians’ fears over the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops.

During a world news conference, the agencies addressed the issue in Abuja on Thursday to inform Nigerians about the safety of GMO technology in agriculture.

The conference was in response to social media reports regarding the negative effects of GMOs, which the agencies described as misinformation and unfounded.

The agencies include the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), the National Biotechnology and Development Agency (NBDA), the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), and the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

Garba Sharubutu, ARCN Executive Secretary, stated that the vast majority of studies had found no indication that GM foods posed a health threat.

Mr Sharubutu noted that the scientific consensus was that gene-altered crops posed no more risks than those developed through conventional breeding techniques.

“More than 275 independent science organisations worldwide have concluded that food grown from genetically engineered seeds pose no unique health concerns,” he said.

He said that the agency was, therefore, focused on preventing drought and flood resistance and improving productivity through GMO crops.

Mr Sharubutu reassured Nigerians that GMO crops were not banned and promised to take their concerns seriously, emphasising that there was no cause for alarm.

More than 275 independent science organisations worldwide have concluded that food grown from genetically engineered seeds pose no unique health concerns.

Abdullahi Mustapha, NBDA Director-General, highlighted that the issue of GMO safety had sparked controversy due to misinformation and misunderstanding.

Mr Mustapha stressed that NBDA aimed to alleviate public concerns and dispel misinformation while promoting the advantages of GMO crops.

According to him, GMO crops have the potential to revolutionise food security and environmental safety, ensuring a good supply of food for future generations.

He assured Nigerians that GMOs were not harmful to human and animal environments but were safe for consumption, improving food security and reducing harmful pest control methods.

Khalid Ishiak, acting director-general of NASC, affirmed that GMO technology had been certified by Nigerian scientists and the agency.

Mr Ishiak urged Nigerians to believe in their technological advancements, emphasising the importance of self-reliance in food production. He assured Nigerians that the technology had undergone thorough scrutiny, prioritising safety without compromising.

Agnes Asagbra, NBMA director-general, debunked the discouraging news reports on social media amidst food insecurity in Nigeria. Ms Asagbra also assured citizens that the government agencies were committed to ensuring the safety of Nigerian citizens.

According to her, NBMA regulates biotechnology to ensure the safe practice of modern biotechnology, including GMOs and has ensured the safety of agri-biotechnology products in collaboration with other federal government agencies to ensure comprehensive safety measures. (NAN)

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