There’s no link between cancer and GM crops – Nigeria’s farmers’ association
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) says there is no scientific proof that connects cancer and genetically modified organisms, GMO.
A statement by the national president of the association, Arc Kabiru Ibrahim made available to ASHENEWS on Monday said although some environmental activities were all over the place trying to scuttle the efforts to embrace biotechnology, no scientific proof had been advanced to support their claim.
According to him, efforts of of Nigerian government and other stakeholders had led “to the production of GM technology that helps in the production of seeds, which are high yielding, drought and disease resistant thereby taking the farmer out of poverty.”
He emphasized that AFAN had thrown its full weight behind the Plant Variety Protection (PVP), Biosafety Bills and the Seed Act of 2019 in order to publicly counter recent negative assessment of the laws from other quarters.
Ibrahim said the Biosafety Bill which also vests the National Biosafety Agency, NBMA, with the power to regulate the technology as well as issue permit for the use of GMO crops after due diligence, is already in place.
He added that the agency deals with the safety of GM technology and the release of GM crops for cultivation after ascertaining their safety for both human and animal consumption.
“There is no scientifically established nexus between GMO and cancer but the antis’ are all over the place trying to scuttle the effort to embrace biotechnology which leads to the production of GM technology that helps in the production of seeds which are high yielding, drought and disease resistant thereby taking the farmer out of poverty.”
The association also noted that the Seed Act 2019 already signed into law makes the NASC (National Agricultural Seed Council) the regulating authority of agricultural seed in Nigeria.
“The seed system is vital to Agricultural growth and requires extreme care in handling and use because it has life. There is a clear distinction between seed and grain.
“Unless this is properly regulated the farmers will continue to plant grains instead of seeds and thereby remain poor due to low yield.
“Hybridization on farms and laboratories is allowed and regulated in the seed Act as such the farmers can retain their seeds that they develop over time.”
The national president also explained that the PVP Bill, Ibrahim is awaiting assent and simply constitutes the copyright over varieties developed by breeders and farmers alike.
“Without the protection provided by PVP the efforts of our researchers and breeders would be hijacked and other people will be reluctant to avail us with their material for use without control or remuneration.
“From the foregoing the farmers have a simple mind and fully understand these bills and believe they will help them to carry on with their businesses sustainably,” the AFAN president said.
Ibrahim further urged and invited President Muhammadu Buhari to kindly assent to the PVP Bill for the benefit of the Nigerian farmers.