The GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and over 35 other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have called on Nigerian government and the entire public to reject agricultural biotechnology as solution for food challenges.
They condemned efforts by government and biotech corporations to persuade Nigerians to accept agricultural biotechnology and also denounced the registration and release of genetically-modified (GM) cotton varieties (Maycho C567 BG II and Maycho C571 BG II) into the country.
The CSOs, in a statement signed by Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nnimmo Bassey; Co-ordinator, GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour; Chairperson, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, Marian Bassey-Orovwuje and 35 others, said: “We were utterly embarrassed to see the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, merely regurgitating the claims of the biotech industry that GMOs would bring about increase in agricultural yields, reduce pesticide use and improve economic situation for farmers – all of which have serially been proven to be false.”
According to the group, “the move by the Nigerian government to commercialise the transgenic cotton varieties opens the doors for more genetically modified products (including the GM cowpea) and represents nothing but disaster for farmers, the entire public and our agricultural system.”
Rhodes-Vivour said it would be erroneous for Nigeria to adopt a crop variety, which is famous for its failure in many countries where it has been used.
He said: “In 2016, Burkina Faso discontinued cultivation of this genetically-modified cotton due to poor quality of the cotton and high cost of inputs.
Bassey stated: “The results of the use of GM cotton in other countries have shown that the promoters of agricultural biotechnology in Nigeria are knowingly peddling falsehood. South African government has recently rejected Monsanto’s triple stacked GM drought tolerant maize as they found that the data provided by company was insufficient to demonstrate the claimed drought tolerance and insect resistant efficiency of the GM event.
Bassey-Orovwuje, a lawyer and food sovereignty activist, said: “It is appalling for the Federal Government to partner with Bayer/Monsanto and their hired helpers in this manner.