By Tunde Oguntola of Leadership newspaper, Nigeria

Federal government has assured that the use of Genetic Modified Foods (GMOs) do not pose any health risk to Nigerians.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to LEADERSHIP corporate headquarters yesterday, the Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Rufus Ebegba, said that highly reputed world regulatory agencies and organisations that study the safety of food supply, including World Health Organisation (WHO), US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and America Medical Association (AMA) have found genetically modified food ingredients safe with no negative health effects associated with their use.

Ebegba stated that GMOs ensures that foods have required vitamins, guarantee bigger yields to create more efficient use of land, less uses of herbicides and other pesticides.

He said, ‘’With an ever increasing global population, massive 3rd world hunger, and with an estimation that a child dies for every two seconds worldwide from starvation; this does not even take into account the number of people who are mal and undernourished, there is a great promise in the use of this technology to benefit not only the farmers, but also societies worldwide.’’

He  noted that Genetic Modified (GM) technology allows farmers to use fewer chemicals, ‘’such as pesticides and also helps them utilize more environmentally friendly planting techniques that cut down on soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions and water use.’’

Ebegba also said that the federal government is working to resolve the suspension of Nigeria’s dried beans exports to the European Union (EU) before the June deadline.

Also speaking, the country coordinator, Open Forum on Agriculture Biotechnology (OFAB), Mrs Rose Gidado, stated that in line with the current administration effort to diversify the nation’s economy, GM technology will help create a shift for farmers in the country from subsistent agriculture practice in the country to mechanized agriculture.

She said, ‘’One in eight people among the world’s growing population of seven ‘billion do not have enough to eat. Safe and effective methods of production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the hungry and malnourished in developing nations around the world.’’

Highlighting the benefits of GMOs Gidado said GMOs will help create plants better resistant to weeds, pest and other diseases, foods with better texture, flavour and nutritional value, foods with a longer shelf life for easier shipping and finally create an essential sustainable way to feed the world.

In his remarks the Director, Editorial Business, LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group, Mr Tony Amokeodo  assured NBMA of adequate coverage and partnership.

He said GMOs will help the nation avert further suspension measures from European Union (EU) which affected dried beans from Nigeria.

This news item was culled from Leadership newspaper, Nigeria