FG Begins Analysis Of Imported Genetically Modified Products | Independent Newspapers Limited
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FG Begins Analysis Of Imported Genetically Modified Products

Posted: Sep 11, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Stories by Nkasiobi Oluikpe,


The National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) says it has begun a survey and analysis of genetically modified agricultural products imported to the country to find out whether they are environmentally friendly and safe for human consumption or not.

The Director-General of the agency, Mr. Rufus Ebegba, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, said that the move had become necessary given that the GMOs were imported to the country by some companies without the required approval.

“We have not granted any permit for the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) either for human consumption or for processing in Nigeria. But there is no doubt; we have what we call genetically modified organism suspects within the country.

“These genetically modified organism suspects are those products that come from countries like the United States, Mexico, products like corn, soya bean, most of them are genetically modified in the US and Mexico. Nigeria imports these products from these countries.

According to Ebegba, there are evidences to show that they are within the country, but what we are doing now is to carry out a survey of GMO suspects and analyse them to be sure that these products are both suitable for human consumption and do not have any adverse impact on the environment.

“Once we are able to do that, we will require these companies that import them to officially apply for permit so that they can operate within the law now in operation. Anybody that does not comply with the law, risks going to jail or paying some fine in line with the content of the Act..

The D-G said that the agency had so far registered and accredited about five institutes to engage in research on GMOs and further explained that companies, institutes and individuals, who were yet to obtain accreditation, had six months ultimatum within which to do so, beginning from June 2015.

Ebegba pointed out that biotechnology had the potential to generate employment for youths and make farming more profitable.

“Genetically Modified Organisms use fewer chemicals because they have already been built to have such ability to play the role of the chemicals. It is biotechnology environment friendly. You can now use the technology to increase food productivity by producing quality seeds.

“Farmers will now have better yields and they can now sell their seeds and actually go into commercial agriculture instead doing peasantry agriculture which has not been favourable to them. Nigeria will be able to have more food. This technology can also generate employment for youths.”

He insisted that modern biotechnology was an alternative to oil in terms of ensuring sustained foreign and domestic income streaming as well as strengthening the economy.