Farmers in Kano State have urged the government to place a ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), citing their environmental and health detriments.
The call is an aftermath of a farmers’ dialogue meeting organized by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), on the food and farming systems.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, HOMEF’s Programme Manager, Joyce Ebebeinwe, noted that the farmers prefer a natural method of food production and preservation.
This, she stated, was due to the numerous adverse effects of GMOs on health, environment and the economy.
On the direct impact of this agricultural biotechnological innovation, Ebebeinwe said that the chemicals found in these products have led to soil degradation. To this end, farmers have had to deal with the increased output of unhealthy crops, she asserted.
She said, “The farmers say no to GMOs. They call for a ban on GMOs especially because of the risks associated with them.
“Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs are crops that have had their genetic material changed in a way that is not natural. They are products of modern agricultural biotechnology.
“So there are challenges with this technology. Such challenges are in form of health, environmental challenges and even implications on our economy.
“On health, researches have linked the consumption of GMOs to health problems like cancer, liver malfunction, kidney issues, immune disorders and birth defects among others.
“On the environment, the chemicals that accompany these products have led to soil degradation. We see the soil not producing crops as healthy as it should produce.
“So the farmers are calling for the preservation of their natural food. They unanimously said that they do not want GMOs. That they want natural food to be preserved because they believed those are the foods that are healthy and nutritious.”
Genetically modified foods have had their genetic materials manipulated through genetic engineering.
This system adopts crop manipulation to enable them to withstand extreme weather conditions and has been largely adopted by African farmers.
Nigeria’s first approved GMO crop is the pest-resistant cowpea. Approved in 2019, the crop was said to be highly resistant to pests and a good way to reduce the use of pesticides, while also increasing crop yield.