- Photo: NBMA officials
The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) says it is committed to leveraging technology to produce genetically modified (GM) foods that would inspire the people’s confidence in the products.
Dr Rufus Ebegba, NBMA’s Director-General, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at a stakeholders’ review and validation meeting on GM foods and feeds.
Ebegba said that, to this effect, the agency had endorsed the national guidelines on Genetically Modified (GM) foods and feeds so as to meet international best practices.
He further said that the guidelines would be subjected to in-depth review by stakeholders, adding that it had undergone various review sessions by stakeholders.
“Genetically Modified foods are products that have been given special attention so that they are healthy foods that do not contain toxin and allergy.
“They are highly scrutinised , they go through a lot of evaluation and assessment to ensure that the outcome is safe.
“We will give it a final look and validate it so that stakeholders can accept, own and make it a national document.
“The issues of food are very critical to the health of any nation, which is sometimes determined by its food and environment,” Ebegba added.
Also speaking, Dr Rose Gidado, Assistant Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency, said the guidelines would help improve the quality of indigenous crops, stressing that the country already had too many underutilized crops.
“We will look at the crops, see the type of challenges farmers face with some of them and use technology to mitigate the challenges and meet the needs of the farmers.
“We will use the technology to our own advantage by making the country food sufficient, to increase our productivity as its cost is very low. Technology cuts down production cost and the end product will be affordable to the public.
“There is no way you can be successful in agriculture without technology, technology is critical, it is a matter of urgency. Technology could also be used to address challenges such as drought, flood and insects,” Mrs Gidado added.
Mr Frank Tietie, Executive Director, Citizens’ Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, said that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are products of scientific developments that Nigeria has embraced for more than a decade.
While corroborating the views of other speakers on the importance of the application of GM to improve quality food production, Tietie stressed that, “Technology could also guarantee food safety and food security,” and called on Nigerians to celebrate the application of biotechnology in food production.