STAKEHOLDERS REVIEW NBMA GUIDELINES ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD AND FEED SAFETY - Living Environment

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

STAKEHOLDERS REVIEW NBMA GUIDELINES ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD AND FEED SAFETY

The Director General/CEO, National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr Rufus Ebegba (fifth from right), the Deputy Director National Biotechnology Development Agency, Dr Rose Gidado and other Stakeholders at the  review/validation guidelines events in Abuja.


By Ada Achanya

The National Biosafety Management Agency in collaboration with relevant stakeholders are set to review and validate the National Biosafety guidelines on Genetically Modified food and feed safety document in Abuja.

At the opening event of the review/ validation of the guidelines, the National and Biosafety Management Agency Director general/CEO, Dr Rufus Ebegba says the essence of the meeting is to subject the guidelines to in depth final scrutiny by stakeholders since the guidelines have under gone various review session by stakeholders.

" This gathering is to look at it finally and validate it for stakeholders to accept it, own it and make it a National document. The issue of food is very critical,. The health of any Nation is determined by the food and environment."

Dr. Ebegba explains that GMOs are products that have been given special attention, and these one's that are process into food needs adequate attention in ensuring they are healthy food , that they don't contains toxins and allergy.

According to him, the importance of the review of the document is to make it good enough to served the best standards for the country and to meet the International best standards by having the document in blue prints on how GMO food should be handled and presented before consumption.

Earlier at the event, the Nattional Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA ) Director General Prof.Abdullahi Mustapha who was represented by a Deputy director in NABDA, Dr Rose Gidado expresses optimism towards the production of GMOs foods in Nigeria by applying the technology on the indigenous crops.

"We have so many orphan and life crops and we'll look at it and see the type of challenges that exist, which the farmers face on their farms and this technology helps to tackle this challenges especially drought and insects."

"This issues have increased due to the effects of climate change and we need to use this technology for our own advantage on our food to make our food sufficient and increasing productivity" She said.

"Our productivity is very low not only in Nigeria but in Africa as a whole in order to close this gap, other Developed nations export food because they don't lack but here we don't because we don't even have enough", she added.

For Dr. Rose, Nigeria has most of the crops like cowpea in deficit of 500,000 tons , Rice 1.2milloon tons, because the right things are not being done.

" You won't be successful in Agriculture without using technology. India and Nigeria were in one class but now they have move far because of technology."

Speaking at the event, Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, Bar. Frank Tietie said since 1995 that GMO was introduced till this day, we have not heard of any scientific proof to discredit the safety of GMO food.

"There are trade war between contending party who are the ones loosing the progress that is been made with the application of safe biotechnology in the use of GMO product in terms of food , these are the person who are driven by certain personal interest not necessarily National interest.

Tietie said the things that we required now is the application safe technology across the world that can be brought into Nigeria and with the establishment of NBMA by law an enactment of the state of the Acts of a Laboratory for testing and for the purpose of approval for continuous monitoring is a progressive achievement that we have made in the application of safe biotechnology to food production in Nigeria, so is something to be celebrated by the society, civil society and by citizens of Nigeria entirely.

National Consultant, Public Health and Environment, WHO, Nigeria, Dr. Edwin Isotu Edeh said food safety is a very important aspect of human life and we salute and support your courage for this guidelines on Genetically Modified food and feed safety.

The Country Representative and Head of Mission, WHO Nigeria was represented by Dr. Edwin Isotu.

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