The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has said there are no genetically modified (GM) foods in Nigerian markets, dispelling fears that Nigerians may have been buying and consuming the biologically engineered foods even before the government gives its approval.
Biotech grown foods have not gained total acceptance from authorities of most countries, even in the West, as many still fear its consumption could pose health danger to humans.
But NABDA says consumption of Genetically Modified foods will not pose any effect on human health in Nigeria as it has not been found to pose any health hazards in countries where they have been approved.
NABDA’s Director General, Prof Bamidele Solomon, while speaking at a one-day training workshop for journalists in Abuja yesterday said since the biosafety bill seeks to regulate the practice of biotech in the country and has not been assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria would not commercialize its GM foods yet.
According to Prof Solomon, NABDA has three genetically modified crops in Nigeria — beans, cassava and sorghum — but they are still being kept in the stores.
He said the delay in having GM foods in commercial quantities could make the food security vision of the government a mirage.
He said the risks for the novel (GM) foods are the same as for conventional ones.
He said, countries which have provisions for GM foods usually regulate the practice, taking into account health and environmental risks, as well as control and trade related issues.
According to Prof Solomon, apart from beans, cassava and sorghum, other GM crops are currently undergoing field trials in Nigeria and as soon as the bio-safety bill is passed into law by the National Assembly and is given presidential assent, they would be mass produced.
He said most Nigerians are skeptical about Genetically Modified plants and animals because of misinformation by some self acclaimed activists.