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Nigeria: USDA pledges support for biotech


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has pledged to support in implementing modern biotechnology towards boosting agricultural economy in Nigeria.
This assurance came when team from the United States Department of Agriculture, visited the National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA), on a fact finding mission.

Leader of the team, Jude Akhidemor, who expressed optimism that the country would overcome the challenges involved with the introduction of the modern bio-technology in Nigeria’s agriculture sector, also gave assurance that the United States was prepared to work with the agency.

In his remarks, NBMA Director General, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, who received the team, said that the agency had been following all best practices in the regulation of biotechnology in the country.

He also said that bio-technology was capable of providing raw materials needed for both industry and job creation.
Ebegba reiterated that the Agency was established by the Federal Government to regulate the practice of modern biotechnology to ensure that it does not pose any threat to the environment and human health.

“Since inception of the Agency, it has approved some permits for GM crops for confined field trials, another for commercial release and recently approved a permit for GM maize for feed processing,” he said.

While also refuting the claims that the agency had been compromised in its regulatory responsibilities towards Genetically Modified crops, he affirmed that due process were followed in the issuance of permits to organisations that deal on GMOs.

“Due process was followed in the issuance of all the permits, risk assessments were conducted and no potential harm was found. The agency has signed Memoranda of Understanding with other government agencies to ensure that all government border agencies are on the same page on the regulation of modern biotechnology and its products in the country,” he added.