Nigerian Authorities Urged for Transparency on GMO Seeds, Crops with Farmers

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An agriculture expert, Ismail Olawale, has called for adequate communication of the advantages and disadvantages of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) crops before adoption by local farmers.

Mr Olawale, a fellow at the National Agriculture Extension Research Liaison Services NAERLS, said this in an interview on Wednesday in Lagos.

GMO crops have their DNA modified using genetic engineering methods for agricultural purposes.

The expert noted that GMOs had benefits and drawbacks and that it was important to communicate them accurately to farmers so they could make informed choices.

“GMO crops/seeds are part of innovation and development in Africa, especially by adopting advanced technology to increase food production and elongate the shelf life of the produce.

“However, the argument on GMOs is on how it is communicated and propagated for adoption by local farmers.

“In the communication of GMO crops there are certain scientific facts that should be properly communicated to the buyers and adopters of the technology. Just like technology that comes with advantages and disadvantages, GMO crops also have their disadvantages,” the expert said.

Mr Olawale reiterated the importance of the sovereignty of indigenous seeds while propagating the adoption of GMO seeds.

He added, “In most cases scientists and companies that invest millions of dollars in propagating GMOs crops want farmers to adopt the crop to gain profit. Hence the propagation of GMO seeds and crops has made its way to the politics of development. The farmers that adopt GMO seeds should be educated on the disadvantages.

“There are researches that have shown that GMOs can disrupt the ecological systems where they are adopted. Most GMO seeds cannot be replanted, hence continuous dependence on the seed companies. Thus the sovereign rights of farmers to propagate indigenous seeds have been taken from them.

“The implication is that once our farmers completely adopt GMO seeds we will be fully dependent on these foreign companies.”

According to him, GMOs have been scientifically proven to have disadvantages.

“Some of these GMO seed companies have been sued in many countries where they have been wholly adopted,” he pointed out.

Mr Olawale added, “We must tell the people the truth about GMOs. We can adopt them for increased productivity, but farmers should continue to plant indigenous crops side by side.”


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