Genetically-Modified (GM) Maize Photo: EUObserver

Why Nigeria approves cultivation of genetically-modified maize: Official

*Researchers say the Federal Government has granted environmental approval for the evaluation and open cultivation of TELA Maize, as there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risk to human health

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the fact that there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, besides taking cognizance of the risk to human health, the Federal Government has granted environmental approval for the evaluation and open cultivation of TELA Maize.

ConsumerConnect reports the authorities stated that TELA is a new variety of genetically-modified (GM) maize developed by researchers at the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria.

Yakubu Dodo, Information Officer, IAR/ABU; and Communications Officer of West and Central Africa for African Agricultural Technology Foundation, announced the development on the government’s approval for the cultivation of the crop in the country in a joint statement issued Sunday, October 10, 2021, in Abuja, FCT.

It was learnt the government’s decision was contained in a certificate issued to IAR by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), the agency mandated to regulate genetically modified products in Nigeria.

The certificate dated October 8, 2021, with permit code No. NBMA/CM/003, was issued to IAR for general/commercial release of TELA maize genetically modified for drought tolerance, resistance to stem borer and fall armyworm.

The statement said: “It comes into effect from October 8, 2021, to October 5, 2024.”

Similarly, a decision document accompanying the certificate from NBMA stated that in arriving at the decision to grant the permit, the agency took into consideration the advice of the National Biosafety Committee, the National Biosafety Technical Sub-Committee, and the risk management report provided by the applicant.

The statement noted the genetically modified maize would resist fall armyworm, stem borers, and tolerate moderate drought.

The statement added, “The agency was convinced that there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risk to human health.”

“The permit, pursuant to this decision, is without prejudice to other extant legal requirements.”

The authorities further noted that the approval would authorise the permit holder and persons covered by the permit to commercialise the TELA maize genetically-modified for drought tolerance and insect resistance.

Ishiyaku Mohammed, Executive Director of IAR, in his comment on the government’s decision said it was inspiring for the institute to secure NBMA approval for the commercial release of the drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize in the country.

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