NABDA trains Seed Council on GMO detection

AS part of efforts to ensure certified seeds distribution, the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), has commenced one week training for staff of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC).

The training is expected to increase capacity of staff of the council in order to detect Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) seeds.

NASC Director General, Dr Philips Ojo, at the opening of the training said it was important for the council to better equip its staffs to effectively perform its mandate.

Ojo, who was represented by the Deputy Director in charge of seed coordination, Mr Joseph Omole explained that with the training, NASC officials will be able to differentiate between GMO seeds and organic seeds for benefit of the local farmers.

He explained that irrespective of the seed type, farmers should have access to quality and certified seeds to realise Federal Government plan of developing the agriculture sector and increasing food production.

According to him, after the preliminary training, further capacity building will be organised for selected officials of the council abroad.

Earlier, Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Professor Lucy Ogbadu described GMO as a controversial issue that should be addressed by science experts based on facts and empirical findings.

She said it would be difficult for the seed council to detect GMO seeds, except with the use of modern technological equipment.

Ogbadu advised the public to shun sentiments and embrace modern biotechnology, as this would help reduce food insecurity.

“Of recent, we have heard in the news, print and electronic media outcry over GMOs. Some people say it caused cancer, other said it is dangerous but we as scientists are open minded. Scientists work on empirical evident.

“Our work is experimental, we experiment and wait for observation and make our observation on what we see we don’t talk anyhow, we talk based on facts that are available to us. So it is my prayer today that you will leave here better equipped with answers to some of these questions.

“I want you to open you mind to the science you have come to do. You are to be trained on how to detect GMOs, I want to tell you that from the beginning, there is no where you can identify GMO from the one that is not GMO with bear eyes even with microscope that is to show that they don’t look any different,” Ogbadu added.

She condemned insinuations that the agency was being funded by Mosanto, a leading global seed company.

According to her, Mosanto is like many other seed companies that sales GM seeds to countries.

She, however, clarified that the firm cannot import GM seeds into the country, adding that the seeds would have to be domesticated in the country.

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