NBMA Vows to Prevent Imports of GM Products Without Permits

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Meets Grain Dealers

From: AgroNature Admin

The National Biosafety Management Agency  (NBMA) on Wednesday met with Grain Dealers and other Stakeholders in the seed industry to discuss on GM safety.

Part of the discussion was to ensure best practise and enlighten the stakeholders on regulations protecting the seed sector, especially on Biosafety.

The Director General, NBMA, Rufus Ebegba, in his remarks in Abuja, identified important role of grain dealers to developing the economy and boosting agricultural productivity.

But he acknowledged ignorance on the part of the grain dealers who often import unapproved GMOs from developed nations without proper certification.

Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency, Rufus Ebegba during the event in Abuja

His words: “Grain Dealers are crucial to the growth of our economy and it is necessary for them to be carried along in the Biosafety process.

“There is ignorance on the part of many Grain Dealers especially those importing from countries producing GMOs such as America, Argentina, Canada,South Africa and many more.”

He added that, “Over Many Years, GMOs have been produced around the world but the Biosafety Act that regulates GMOs in Nigeria was only signed in 2015.

“The Act mandates the Agency to ensure the safety of GMOs which are locally produced or imported into the country. It also empowers the Agency to prosecute erring parties including individuals or companies that import or produce GMOs without a Biosafety Permit.

“All Grain Dealers with the intent to import Genetically Modified Grains must apply to the NBMA to obtain a permit which allows the agency assert the safety of GM grains/seeds to be imported.”

Ebegba further warned erring seed dealers to adhere to provisions of the law otherwise face sanctions.

He restated commitment of the agency to protecting the environment and the people against illegal GM products and alteration of the biodiversity.

“Erring grain dealers will have their shipments repatriated from the border and facilities sealed up. We will not allow the entry of GMOs into Nigeria without Biosafety Permits.

“There are companies that have applied for Biosafety Permits and they have been granted. There are a few more applications which are currently being processed.

“We must reiterate that we will not permit any potential alteration to our biodiversity or harm to human health.

“We have signed Memorandum Of Understanding(MOU) with Agencies at the boarders. This allows us have our ears to the ground and gives us the power to better exercise our mandate.

“The NBMA will continue to ensure that Nigerians are protected from the potential adverse impact of the products of modern biotechnology,” he added.

Those present includes All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Seed companies among others.

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