The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has spoken out against false claims of the harmful effects of consuming genetically modified organisms (GMOs), noting that no recorded risk has been associated with biotechnology crops or products as of yet.
Abdullahi Mustapha, director-general of the NABDA, reiterated this point at the 2021 Science, Technology and Innovation Expo in Abuja, which was organized around the theme “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainability Amidst COVID-19 Challenges.”
The NABDA was established in November 2001 under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to promote, coordinate and deploy cutting-edge biotechnology research and development, processes, and products for the socio-economic well-being of the country.
Mustapha explained that the federal government had also instituted the National Biosafety Management Agency, tasked with providing a regulatory framework to safeguard humans and the environment from the potential adverse effects of modern biotechnology and GMOs.
He called on government to increase funding to biotechnology research in order to enhance food security in Nigeria, adding that countries that use modern biotechnology enjoy massive influxes in investment and uptake of their products on the market.
“No country can develop, if it does not have indigenous Technology. Government needs to provide more funding for its technology to develop,” the director-general asserted.
According to Mustapha, only two products – namely Bt cowpea and Bt cotton – have been approved for commercial use in the country. Meanwhile, he added, the rate of return for Bt cotton is highly encouraging at around 105 percent.
Also speaking on the matter, Rose Gidado, country coordinator for the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, Nigeria Chapter, pointed out that fake information about GMOs is peddled out of self-interest by environmentalists who are sponsored by anti-GMO organizations.