Nigeria: Stuck at crossroads of GMO for industrial growth, food security

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In April this year (2019) at a training organised for some journalists in Lagos, an acclaimed professor of food science and technology in one of the universities in South West Nigeria, made some startling revelations. Notable in his presentation was the assertion that Nigerians have been consuming GMO food for decades, and it has already evolved into our primary food production, thereby suggesting there is hardly non-GMO food being cultivated again. Shocking it sounded, as journalists took turns to gasp in surprise, and at other times, chorused their sounds of surprise in unison.

According to the professor, said to have a wealth of knowledge in Biotechnology, “have you noticed tomatoes nowadays no longer contain as much water and seeds, like the ones available when we were growing up.” To conclude this, he said “don’t you all know it is because GMO seeds had been introduced at some point, and that is why our tomatoes contain more pulp and little to no seeds.”

He did not stop there, other instances (and insinuations) included Maize, but not the bio-fortification aspect of it, rather, the fact that the “colour of maize has evolved from white to yellow.” The professor, with his years of research and wealth of knowledge is supposed to know a lot, perhaps, better than most people. However, some of the claims seemed not just far off, but also like excerpts from a conspiracy theory book published to scare food-loving people.

Elementary agriculture taught grafting and budding, one of several ‘less-invasive’ techniques used to improve plant varieties. A plant with desirable attributes in taste, appearance or even disease resistance, when grafted or budded onto another, is expected to ‘transfer some of this desirable DNA’. There could also be good old selection, like in the case of white … Read More...