Eric M Kuju
The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has held a one-day sensitization workshop on the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their regulation in Nigeria.
The workshop which held Thursday October 14, 2021 in Lafia, was attended by media workers in Nasarawa State as well as representatives from some government and non-governmental bodies within the State.
In his address at the event, Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba said his agency decided to organize the workshop in order to inform the general public about their activities.
He said the NBMA chose to start with the media because they are best equipped to pass information in a manner that is easily understood by the populace.
Dr. Ebegba said as a relatively new concept, modern biotechnology is still facing a lot resistance from Nigerians as a result of the many false information about GMOs that have saturated the internet. He said such information are the works of makers of mischief with sinister motives.
He then called on all Nigerians not to be afraid of biotechnology and products of biotechnology especially GMOs as the National Biosafety Management Agency is always up and doing to ensure that biotechnology is applied only in a manner that is safe for human health and also for the environment.
Also speaking at the event, the West African Regional Representative for the African Agricultural Transformation Foundation (AATF), Dr. Issoufou Kollo described biotechnology as a very important modern tool that has helped mankind make great achievements in agriculture, medicine, transportation and many other sectors.
According to him, anyone who refuses to welcome biotechnology is choosing to be left behind as the world advances.
Dr. Kollo said as an organisation whose focus is agriculture, the AATF is applying biotechnology to make agriculture less stressful for the farmer, safer and more productive.
Giving an example with the pod-borer resistant (PBR) cowpea, Dr. Issoufou Kollo said it is a genetically modified food crop that is resistant to the insect pest which is responsible for up to 80 percent yield losses.
He said a farmer that plants the genetically modified cowpea will apply much less quantity of pesticides which will in turn mean the farmer is saving cost, the environment is safer from chemicals and also much higher yield.
Mrs Chamang Atinuke who was at the event on behalf of the Nasarawa State Ministry for Environment, appreciated the NBMA for the work it is doing while assuring that her ministry is ever ready to go into any partnership that is in line with their mandate of keeping the environment safe for the people of Nasarawa State.