By Chinyere Anyanwu
The The national chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, has claimed that there is no scientific evidence showing that genetically modified (GM) crops cause disease.
Making the claim in a recent statement in Abuja, Ibrahim dismissed what he called a “fairy tale against reality and a negative rant about GMOs orchestrated by anti-GMO activists”.
Rather, he insists that GM crops would lift small farmers out of poverty and help Nigeria and the African continent achieve food security faster than using conventional crops.
The AFAN president maintained that the effects of climate change will be less felt by the use of genetically modified crops.
According to him, “There is a negative rant on GMOs orchestrated by anti-GMO activists, no doubt, and Nigerians are right to demand an explanation for embracing or supporting the adoption of GM crops.
“The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) supported by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has done a lot of advocacy on GM crops and all the possible gains from biotechnology.” The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) was created and given the enabling laws to effect the release. Elsewhere, at Ithaca, Connell University, world renowned for agriculture, New York, USA, a conference on global food security was convened and I was privileged to attend which leading scientists and activists anti-GMOs converged to reflect on the issue of GMOs.
“At the end of the conference, some anti-GMO activists turned PROs and half-baked scientists and farmers like me embraced the biotechnology that gives rise to GMOs and we were at the forefront of advocacy for the Global Science Alliance for GMOs.
“After the World Conference on Food Safety, I became convinced that there is not yet a link between GM crops and cancer or any disease for that matter. My training in practical sciences, in architecture, prepares me to appreciate the possibilities of scientific research.
Ibrahim further expressed his confidence in the quality of research conducted by some Nigerian scientists on genetically modified organisms which led to the commercialization of pod borer resistant (PBR) cowpea and Bt cotton in Nigeria.
“I trust the Nigerian scientists like Professor Ishaku, Executive Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) and his esteemed team, involved in the research that resulted in the release of PBR cowpea, Bt cotton and maize TELA (coming soon),” he said.