By Alemma Aliu
BENIN CITY—WITH the recent agricultural updates that if the world’s population should hit 10 billion, then the genetic modification of crops popularly called GMO would be the only way to meet food production, some environmentalists and agricultural experts have debunked the claim insisting that the world can always feed itself if wastage is checked.
The experts made this assertion at a town hall meeting with civil society organisations and other stakeholders CSOs organised by Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, in Benin City.
Executive Director of HOMEF, Dr Nnimmo Bassey in his opening remarks upheld that artificial means of food production is as good as signing one’s death warrant and should not be considered in Nigeria.
He said those insisting on GMOs were those desperate to keep their jobs.
Bassey said: “Records show that up to 30 per cent of food produced globally is wasted and in Nigeria, it is believed that up to 50 per cent of food produced gets damaged before getting to the cooking pots or dining table. Several reasons are responsible for the damage of harvests in Nigeria, genetic engineering cannot solve that problem”.
A Professor of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology of the University of Benin, Daniel Olorunfemi kicked against the idea of trying to alter nature with laboratory modulated findings as a contest against the order as ordained by nature and God.
He likened GMOs to altering the DNA of a human being and the result can never be the same as the original DNA, adding that the hunger in Nigeria is artificial caused by misplaced priorities.
He said: “We already have enough problems and GMO is just complicating. They have lasting effects that may not even present itself now but for unborn generations. We have been surviving well before the introduction of GMO in our country and taking it as an option in order to meet the status-quo of achieving Vision 2020 is mass ambush for Nigeria. It will never solve the issue of food crisis in Nigeria”.
While calling on proper investment in agriculture, participants called on the Federal Government to ban GMO foods into the country rather than claiming that there can be room for authorized GMO foods.