We Will only Accept GMOs If they are Domesticated – SEEDAN

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From Babatunde Azeez, Abuja

Following the new drive by the Federal Government of Nigeria to revolutionize the Agricultural sector through Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), stakeholders have said it will only be accepted if they are domesticated.

Mr Richard Olafare, President of Seed Entrepreneur Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN) said GMOs from foreign lands will not be accepted by the Nigerian seed industries.

Olafare disclosed this on Wednesday during a workshop organised by AGRA-MIRA in Abuja.

He said if the new effort by the government is executed with genuine intentions by domesticating the technology as seen in the new verities of cowpea, the farmers will be better for it.

He urged the necessary regulatory agencies to ensure the technology conforms with all Biosafety measures to assure industry players of the safety of the GMOs.

However, he expressed fear that Nigeria is not ripe enough for such sophisticated technology, while noting that non of the seed companies have the capacity to go into it, due to its technicalities and it’s capital intensive nature.

Stakeholders in the Seed Industry during the conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

“If the Government says they should do it, they should if they have the capacity, but to come and bring something form Asia and dump it on us, that is not possible, it must be tried and domesticated, and the farmers and market will accept it as far as it is safe for the to off take it, like said earlier research should be market driven.

“If it is done genuinely, but not with the intentions of it on the farmers. If the technology is domesticated like the cowpea was domesticated, developed and tried by farmers and they accept it, that is why I said if it is domesticated and then if it can be proved that it is within the next confines of Biosafety, no body is saying no as long as it is improving the lots of the farmers.

“But I don’t think we have even two or one company that can go into it. Biotech has been in Nigeria for long, take a look at the cassava but this level of sophistication they are going into, Nigeria is not ripe for it.” He added.

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