Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, and a Molecules Diagnostics Traditional Science Expert, Cashmir Ifeanyi, have told the Federal Government that Genetically Modified Orgnanisms (GMOs) is not the way out of food shortage and hunger in Nigeria.
Bassey and Cashmir spoke during a training for media practitioners on Biosafety and Genetic Engineering in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
HOMEF Director Bassey said the country was faced with the problem of food safety.
‘Food safety is a challenge facing us as regards what to eat. There is need for people to have access to good food. We want food to be seen as life and culture, and not as commodity.
‘The problem facing us as regards food is that there is no access road to move food from rural communities to the cities. They few that try would increase their prices.
‘There is also the problem of storage facilities, processing facilities. No fair pricing are reasons foods from villages hardly get to the cities.
‘People are not hungry because there is no food to eat, but over 30 per cent of food goes waste and most used for industrial purposes,’ Bassey stated.
Ifeanyi, who is also the National Publicity Secretary, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMSLN), said GMOs were not a silver bullet that would solve food crisis and hunger in the country
‘NESRA has in its act to have access to Generic environment. I don’t know the role they are playing in all the GMOs that have been approved.
‘The way we have turned the Biosafety Agency as a one stop for approval for free trials yields less than desired. We should bring in more hands.
‘GMO is not a silver bullet that will solve the problem of food shortage, hunger or climate change. What we need is the Ministry of Agriculture and Central Bank and Bank of Agriculture is to lend resources to small scale farmers to be able to improve their operations,’ Ifeanyi noted.
He tasked farmers against the use of chemicals on their crops, adding that it does not only affect humans, but also aquatic lives.
Ifeanyi said: ‘Government should develop seed bank for farmers, so that we use our traditional seeds in farming. If there is a seed bank when there is shortage of seed and crops we relaunch them.
‘We must start discouraging our farmers as regards indiscriminate use of chemicals in our farms. The chemicals we use in our farms end up running into the rivers and destroy the aquatic lives,’ he noted.