OFAB seeks end to misleading narratives on GM crops

The Open Forum On Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, Nigeria Chapter, has called for an end to dissemination of misleading narratives on Genetically Modified (GM) crops by activists.

OFAB is an Initiative of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) under the auspices of NABDA.

Dr Rose Gidado, the Director, Agric Biotech Department, NABDA, said there was an urgent need to dismiss diversionary narratives about GM crops, highlighting the crucial role of agricultural biotechnology in mitigating food shortages.

She emphasised that safety measures were always taken before the release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), addressing concerns related to human, animal, and environmental safety.

In spite of the proven safety records and widespread acceptance among farmers, she expressed concerns on the persistence of opposition groups maintaining anti-biotechnology stance.

Gidado identified three primary groups opposing GM crops, including organic farming advocates rejecting chemicals and commercial agriculture, promoting a return to traditional farming methods.

“The second group opposes GM crops based on philosophical or religious beliefs, advocating against “mimicking God.

“The third group, driven by political and economic motives, orchestrates a global crusade against GM crops,’’ she said.

Gidado said there was no scientific evidence supporting the claims of these opposition groups.

She highlighted the weaponisation of fabricated stories to mislead the public, pointing to the creation of NGOs and virtual institutions with deceptive names to reinforce the anti-GM narrative.

In stressing the significance of agricultural biotechnology in crop improvement, Gidado emphasised its role in addressing challenges such as drought tolerance and pest resistance.

She underscored the success of Bt crops, specifically maize, cotton, and soybean, in providing farmers with effective protection against borers.

Gidado emphasised the safety and widespread adoption of GM crops over the past two decades, with a staggering 99 million hectares of Bt crops grown worldwide.

She said farmers must adopt the use of GM seeds to reduce the need for routine farm practices while ensuring higher yields, calling also for the use of Nano nutrients to boost crop production.

The country director said adverse effects of climate change, including higher temperatures, prolonged droughts, floods, and other factors had led to reduced agricultural production, especially in the northern states.

Gidado said that biotechnology provided innovative tools to improve agricultural productivity and safeguard food crops from the impacts of climate change, such as heat, floods and drought.

According to OFAB, Nigeria must adopt modern technologies in agriculture to overcome challenges of food security occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Naija Environment News

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