The Federal Government, on Monday, disclosed that the newly released transgenic cotton hybrid varieties into Nigerian market were not harmful as erroneously perceived by some critics.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu alongside his counterpart from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who jointly addressed newsmen in Abuja, said none of the crops scientifically modified to Nigerian farming system are not harmful.
It will be recalled that some critics have kicked against the government’s move to introduce Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the Nigerian Market.
Earlier, a non-governmental organization, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) had warned the government not to introduce genetically modified crops into the food system of the country.
According to Science and Technology’s minister, presently, the BT cotton will cause a 24 percent increase in cotton yield per hectare through reduced pest damages and a 50 percent gain in cotton profit among smallholders as well as revamping textile industries.
“We want those who are against BT cotton to prove to us scientifically that it is harmful to human beings.” He stated.
On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Ogbeh said “I will like to say we can blame every government that comes, sometimes because of today’s problems with something that happened 20 to 30 years ago, we didn’t watch or were not cautious enough. Importation of everything from toothpicks to fruit juice, pencils to erasers, all of these has really created problems for you and I.
“This release of this variety of cotton, particularly cheers my heart. What I am wearing is six metres of material, that’s to tell you how much material we use in this country to clothe ourselves. Having to import all that has contributed immensely to Nigeria’s economy.” He added.