AgricultureTo fully domesticate the development of Genetically Modified crop in the country, the Nigerian Agriculture Seed Council (NASC) has called for the need to scale up funding for agricultural biotechnology in the country.
The Director General NASC, Olusegun Ojo who stated this during the training of over 20 seed scientists on the detection of GMO crops noted that to fully domesticate the National Biosafety Law, there was need to increase funding to the subsector.
He pointed out that agricultural biotechnology is about increasing food production for the teeming population, which mandates the federal government to up there ante in the development of capacity to be able to produce the reagents for the detection of GMO seeds and the development of the biotech crops in the country.
It would be noted that the National Agriculture Biotechnology Agency (NABDA) said it had to import the reagent for the detection of GMO seeds from South Africa, as the seeds cannot be readily differentiated with the naked eye.
The DG who was represented by the Director Seed Coordination, Dr Joseph Omole stressed the need for the National Assembly to give maximum support for Nigerians to begin to develop Nigerian-owned Genetically modified crops.
He said “the first step to biosafety is for Nigerians to develop GMO by themselves, domesticating it start with the production of all the reagents, our laboratory technologist, biochenmist must take up the challenge and begin to prepare the GM seeds on a commercial scale and government must provide the enabling environment for the development of biotech seeds”.
Omole noted that although there are dangers with GM seed, which necessitate for a regulatory agency that are well funded by the government, adding that if not controlled it could be used as biological weapon.
He maintained that regulated GM and agricultural biotechnology product are very safe, adding that GM varieties are very young to cause cancer as Cancer are usually induced and it would take time before it begin to occur.
NABDA Director General, Prof Lucy Ogbadu noted that the training of the scientists was very apt to the development and detection of genetically modified crops in the country.
She said detection of GMO seed can only be done through scientific means and procedures adding the training would ensure that there are competent Nigerians in National Seed council who can detect GMO seeds.
She said “that Nigerians don’t produce GMOs does not mean we cannot patronize seeds produced by Mosanto, if Nigerian don’t manufacture aircraft but still fly inside it, then nothing stops us from adopting GMOs