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Agency poised to tackle adverse impact of GMOs

Dr Rufus Egbegba, the Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), says the agency is poised to tackle any adverse effect of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to ensure citizens wellbeing.

Egbegba said this in an interview with on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, there is no technology that does not have potential adverse effect associated with it but the difference is the preparedness of those concerned to tackle the impact.

“There is no technology that does not have potential adverse impact.

“The potential adverse impact that is associated to this technology in which the agency is placed to ensure that they do not manifest include environmental, human health and also socio-economic concerns.

“When you talk about the environmental impact some of the things we are guarding against is coming out with products that become super organism.

“That is, coming out with a crop and suddenly the crop become super weed or become invasive replacing other natural ecosystem and taking over the ecosystem we don’t want that.

“Also, for instance genetically modified corn that is insect resistant for a particular insect is now affecting other insects it is not allowed so we are fighting the unintended effects,’’ he said.

Egbegba said issues such as food and allergies to humans were also considered before they are given a go ahead.

“On the issue of food safety the product that must not have toxins that can cause poison to animals or the soil it must not be toxic, it must not become allergic.

“It must not cause any allergy; for instance, when you eat some genetically modified organisms you will now have reactions on your body, or the surface of your body or any part of your body which is unusual, it is not allowed.

“Also we ensure that all genetically modified products are labelled so anybody can compare it.

“For the socio-economic concerns, we ensure that it does not become too expensive for the farmers to grow and for the consumers to purchase.’’

According to him, the agency also tries to be sensitive to the cultural preference of the people and will not take a crop that people are averse to and use it to produce GMO.

The director-general said that for any genetically modified food to be released into the market worldwide it has a long stretch of time 13 to 15 years.

He therefore called on Nigerians not to be afraid of the products as all structures that would ensure safety are strictly adhered to by the agency.

Newsmen report that the NBMA was established by the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015, to provide regulatory framework to adequately safe guard human health and the environment from potential adverse effects of modern biotechnology.

The agency is also mandated to protect citizens from harmful genetically modified organisms, while harnessing the potentials of modern biotechnology and its derivatives, for the benefit of Nigerians.

NAN


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