Farmers in the country have been counselled on the usefulness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
This is one of the issues that have generated controversies in the agriculture sector lately in the country.
At a one-day programme held in Abuja on Monday, experts allayed the fears being nursed by some farmers in the country.
Nigerian farmers were advised to take advantage of GMOs, which is actually aimed at increasing yields.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was present at the occasion, said GMOs have come to stay in the agriculture sector worldwide.
“We are here to deal with the issue of a new technology. It is scientific and we don’t want sentiments to have upper hand on the issue,” the Minister said.
At the debate session tagged ‘Experts’ Meeting on Biosafety and Biotechnology- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)’, stakeholders submitted that the benefits of GMOs surpass the demerits.
The occasion organised by the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Science and Technology, was attended by various top government personalities and experts in the field of agriculture, environment, ICT, business and others.
The Minister of Agriculture remarked that, “We have to know and have full knowledge of GMOs. We may have to call on the public to contribute to it because Nigerians are not aware of the present development in the world of science.”
On her part, the Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, said Nigerian farmers have been doing modification over the years, adding that the technology was not new in the country.
She pointed out that plants and animal modifications had been in place since creation, stressing that “it is a matter of moving desirable genes from same specie to the next generation and it results to hybrid.”
“According to WHO, genetically modified foods currently on the international market have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present danger to human health. In addition, the general population in the countries where they have been proved has shown no negative effects on human health as a result of the consumption of such foods,” she added.
A GMO is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.
GMOs are used to produce many medications and genetically modified foods and are widely used in scientific research and the production of other goods.
The first genetically modified mouse was in 1973, and the first plant was produced 10 years later.
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