Nigerian Government Advocates For Inclusive Dialogue On GMOs

Country: Nigeria
Nigerian Government Advocates For Inclusive Dialogue On GMOs
04 May 2024

The Federal Government of Nigeria is urging for open, transparent, and inclusive discussions on biotechnology, specifically focusing on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This call for dialogue comes as recognition of the potential of biotechnological advancements to transform agriculture and address various societal challenges. During a recent ministerial meeting held in Abuja, Chief Uche Nnaji, the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, emphasized the historical pattern of resistance followed by eventual acceptance of scientific innovations, drawing parallels to past advancements such as cars, vaccines, and airplanes. Nnaji highlighted the pivotal role of innovation in driving progress and addressing complex challenges, underlining the potential of GMOs to enhance crop yields, improve nutrition, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on food security.

Moreover, Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako, stressed the revolutionary breakthroughs in environmental science and agriculture facilitated by biotechnology. He emphasized biotechnology's significant role in reducing pesticide use, protecting biodiversity, and enhancing resilience to climate change while simultaneously improving nutrition and healthcare outcomes. Acknowledging public concerns surrounding biotech products, particularly in agriculture, Salako reassured Nigerians of the government's commitment to safety and environmental protection through stringent regulatory measures enforced by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

Additionally, the Director-general of the National Biotechnology Research Development Agency (NBRDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, highlighted the necessity for informed dialogue to address misconceptions and concerns regarding GMOs. Mustapha emphasized the importance of collaboration among stakeholders to prioritize public safety, sustainability, and the common good. Likewise, the Director-general of the NBMA, Dr. Agnes Asagbra, reiterated the agency's dedication to safeguarding human health and biodiversity from potential risks associated with modern biotechnology. She emphasized the agency's commitment to conducting rigorous assessments of GMOs and implementing public awareness campaigns to ensure the safe and beneficial adoption of biotechnological advancements.

Overall, the meeting served as a platform for stakeholders from various sectors including government, academia, industry, farmer groups, civil society, and the public to deepen their understanding of GMO-related issues, identify common ground, and chart a collective path forward. This inclusive approach reflects the Nigerian government's commitment to harnessing the benefits of modern biotechnology while ensuring safety, environmental protection, and public welfare. Collaborative efforts and informed decision-making will be essential in navigating the complexities of GMOs and advancing sustainable agriculture and development in Nigeria.

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