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CSO Urges Citizens To Embrace GM Foods

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Barr. Frank Tietie.
Barr. Frank Tietie.

The executive director of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) and convener of Food Avail Nigeria, Barr. Frank Tietie has urged the public to embrace genetically modified (GM) foods, emphasising their safety and potential to enhance food security. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, Tietie encouraged the cultivation of Tela Maize and BT Cowpea, recently licensed by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

Highlighting the transformative potential of biotechnology in agriculture, Tietie stressed its ability to unleash progress and prosperity for all Nigerians, asserting that access to food is a fundamental right. He reassured the public that there is no evidence linking GM foods to risks to human health.

Nigeria has made significant strides in introducing GM foods, particularly cowpea and TELA maize. The NBMA ensures the safety of biotechnological applications, underscoring the right of every Nigerian to access safe and nutritious food. As the regulatory authority responsible for licensing, approving and enforcing biosafety standards, the NBMA plays a crucial role in safeguarding public health and environmental integrity.

The commercialisation of BT cowpea offers a sustainable solution to pest management, as the inserted genes confer resistance to pests without the need for chemical pesticides. This not only reduces farmers’ reliance on harmful chemicals but also mitigates health risks associated with pesticide exposure.

Tietie highlighted the challenges faced by farmers, including pest infestations, insecurity and financial constraints, leading to food insecurity. BT cowpea presents a viable solution by providing farmers with resilient seeds that thrive in challenging agricultural conditions.

Encouraging scientists to prioritise the development of GM crops, Tietie urged the government to remain steadfast and heed expert advice. Emphasising the importance of evidence-based policymaking, he cautioned against succumbing to conspiracy theories and misinformation.

Tietie advocated for the widespread adoption of GM crops as a sustainable solution to food insecurity in Nigeria. By embracing biotechnology and supporting scientific innovation, Nigeria can enhance agricultural productivity, improve food access and ensure a prosperous future for all its citizens.

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