Genetically Modified TELA Maize Safe, Environment-Friendly — Federal Govt

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The Federal Government has revealed that genetically modified TELA Maize safe and environment-friendly.

According to The Nation, the Federal Government has clarified that TELA Maize, a new maize variety genetically modified to tolerate moderate drought and resist the fall armyworm and stem borer, is safe for cultivation and environment-friendly.

Genetically Modified TELA Maize Safe, Environment-Friendly — Federal Govt

The Director-General/CEO National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba who spoke exclusively to The Nation on Friday, was reacting to the growing criticism of the new maize variety.

The Nation reports the agency had granted the environmental approval for evaluation and open cultivation of the Maize.

The approval was contained in a certificate issued to the country’s Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) whose researchers developed the variety.

Ebegba explained that the TELA maize has the potential to transform Nigeria’s farming communities with higher yields, better grain quality and higher farm income.

He said: “There is an application for genetically modified maize, it has some genes. One of the genes is for drought tolerance. Another one is for insect resistance. It has the ability to resist two types of insects — stem borer and fall armyworm.

“As a matter of fact, this particular maize has been used in South Africa over the years, and even the one approved by Kenya is different from the one approved by Nigeria.

“On whether America has rejected the maize, I don’t think I have any record of that. And apart from that, if Nigeria decides to take some steps, it is based on our scientific knowledge and our circumstance.

“Nigeria has some of the best scientists we have in the world and that have served outside the country, so if Nigeria, based on scientific evidence, and experiences we’ve had over years, and we say we do find anything wrong with the GMOs, and it is safe with the environment, it can also help our family, it can be environmentally friendly, it can also add solid economic value, and what it means that is these crops can they can be grown in the areas that are prone to droughts and also less chemical to be used and you know the importance of less use of the chemical.”

He clarified that maize does not have any negative impact on human health, but rather has economic value.

Ebegba who urged the public not to be misled by misinformation peddled by different groups, or persons, re-emphasised that the agency will continue to sensitise the public and create more awareness on the importance of GMOs.