An agricultural economist, Dr Thaddeus Thompson, has warned against accepting food production and preservation using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the agriculture sector, saying that it will be a great mistake.
Thompson particularly cautioned the Nigerian government to consider the gray facts left out in the GM seeds offered by agriculture giants from America and Europe before making any decision to accept it or not, noting that Nigeria lacks the finance and technology to handle the negative side of GM seeds.
He said, “A decision to accept GMO in Nigeria will be a huge mistake, especially at a time when most citizens in developed countries are rejecting them and turning back to the natural way of food production. The consequences of GMO outweigh its benefits and undeniably raises the concerns that it could harm humans. Given that some GM foods are modified using bacteria and viruses, it is advisable for the Nigerian government not to undermine the concerns that new diseases could emerge and create a health cost that the country cannot handle.
“Developed countries are financially and technologically better prepared to manage a health risk that develops from GMOs than Nigeria could afford. Because genetically modified food production is more focused on financial gains rather than feeding populations, the government must exercise caution engaging in any contractual deal with the big biotech companies which interest is making money. What Nigeria lacks is excessive technology and not excessive food. Biotech companies make the most gain and not the local farmers. A lot of misleading information has clouded research, leaving gray areas around the GMO conversation.”
He added that GMO technology was designed for mass production of food and would be necessary for countries in famine, which Nigeria is not, and the government should not think of that option to meet the people’s food demands as there are better and environment friendly food production and preservation technologies that could be adopted for mass food production for the teeming population.