Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has called for the total ban of Genetically Modified (GMO) foods in Nigeria saying that they account for increase in the rate of cancer-related deaths in the country.
This is as the foundation also advocated decolonisation of food sustenance-related the way towards the preservation of crop and animal varieties, rebuilding our food systems, thereby, recovering the nation’s culture.
Homef stated that GMOs impact negatively on clean earth and the economy adding that genetically-engineered crops, and the agricultural practices emanating from the industry, have continued to impact negatively on the health of Nigerians and the economy of the nation.
Reports by researchers indicate a noticeable rise in the rate of cancer-related deaths in Nigeria as a result of genetically-engineered products.
Against this background, the Executive Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Dr Nnimmo Bassey, called for a total ban on genetically-engineered products in Nigeria.
He made the call Wednesday in Port Harcourt at a media training for journalists hosted by the foundation.
Speaking on the theme; “My Food is African”, Dr. Bassey said; “many times we think that food is neutral, just something you put in your belly and go. But food is more than that. Food is life and culture.
He described a colonised food and agriculture system as one that enslaves farmers, disconnects people from the soil and exposes citizens to great harm.
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“It is our duty to demand safe food, support our farmers, reject monoculture, and decolonize our foods and minds”, he said.
“When you have lost your food (as a people), and you are now dependent on food from elsewhere, or that is genetically-engineered, you are exposing yourself to great risk, you lose the resilience, the capacity to withstand the challenges of life and health, because for every region of the world, nature has provided the right crops that would help maintain the health of the people.
So, we want to remind those in authority that they can help Nigerians, help the farmers, the economy as well as the biodiversity by placing a total ban on genetically-engineered crops”, he stressed.
He said plantation agriculture encapsulates the core practice of colonialism that entailed land use conversion— often through massive deforestation and land grabbing.
Dr. Bassey added; “It also promoted monoculture by growing specific crops to meet specific needs of industry and colonial appetites.