According to a report by Guardian, the Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, lent his voice to the growing criticism of the new maize variety developed by researchers at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, named TELA Maize and was certified by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), the Federal Government agency mandated to regulate genetically modified products in the country.
According to Bassey, the newly approved genetically modified TELA Maize variety by the Federal Government was rejected by the United States Government and Kenya and so it should be rejected in Nigeria. Many other Nigerians who are experts in the field of Genetically Modified Crops have also shared their own opinion with Nigerians. Below are reasons why Nigeria should not reject it.
1. It is modified in Nigeria.
The TELA Maize is genetically modified for drought tolerance, resistance to stem borer, and fall armyworm. The certificate will be in force till October 5, 2024. The TELA Maize Project is a public-private partnership led by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) working towards the commercialization of transgenic drought-tolerant and insect-protected (TELA®) maize varieties to enhance food security in sub-Saharan Africa.
2. US rejecting might be for international politics
The US rejecting the Maize developed in Nigeria might just be international politics. This is a project Nigeria, and Six (6) other countries are part of since inception. Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, and builds on progress made from a decade of excellent breeding work under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project.
Therefore, it is only farmers that can or can't condemn this variety. This was developed in Nigeria by Nigerians that understand our environment. So let the acid test be the first farming season. We're dependent on imported stuff. Since the US & Kenya or any other country didn't reject it on a health basis, then the farmers should try it.
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