The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has given environmental certification for the evaluation and open cultivation of TELA Maize, a genetically modified maize developed by researchers at the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The Director-General, the National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr Rufus Ebegba, said the genetically modified maize would go through scientific processes to ascertain its potency, safe standard for human consumption and agro-economic values.
NBMA issued the certificate of approval with permit code no. NBMA/CM/003 to IAR for General\Commercial Release of TELA Maize Genetically Modified for Drought Tolerance, Resistance to Stem Borer and Fall Armyworm, which comes into effect from October 8, 2021, to October 5, 2024.
The decision document accompanying the certificate from NBMA disclosed that the Agency was convinced that there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risk to human health.
“This permit authorises the permit holder and persons covered by the permit to commercialize the TELA Maize genetically modified for drought tolerance and insect resistance,” the decision document from the NBMA stated.
Professor Ishiyaku Mohammed, Executive Director, IAR, showed his excitement, noting that it is really inspiring for IAR to secure NBMA approval for the commercial release of the drought-tolerant and insect-resistant Maize (TELA MAIZE), adding that the institute was partnering with international organisations to adopt genetic engineering to meet national and regional food needs.
“This goes to further highlight IAR’s capacity and commitment to providing effective solutions to agricultural problems facing our farmers and optimizing food security for Nigerians. The approval will open the way to combating the devastating effects of both drought and insect pests through the deployment of this new variety of maize into our farming system”. Mohammed explained.