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US, Kenya Didn’t Reject TELA Maize – Experts React

… Kenya recently released GM cassava as the global first, US is the inventor of GMO.

Agricultural Experts have reacted to the recent report on Nigeria’s approval of TELA Maize purportedly rejected by the United States and Kenya.

According to a Guardian report “The newly approved genetically modified TELA Maize variety by the Federal Government was rejected by the United States Government and Kenya. It is unfortunate that Nigeria has become a dumping ground for junk technologies that have been rejected in other countries.

“This is the submission of the Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, who also lent his voice to the growing criticism of the new maize variety developed by researchers at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State” as partly contained in the news report.

AgroNigeria had earlier reported that the Federal Government had granted environmental approval for evaluation and open cultivation of a new maize variety, Tela Maize.

Tela Maize was developed by researchers at the Institute for Agricultural Research, IAR, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to resist fall armyworm, stem borers as well as tolerate moderate drought.

The Researchers noted that the newly developed maize variety would save Nigeria about N268bn spent annually on pest control.

Director-General/CEO, National Biosafety Management Agency, NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba, who presented the TELA Maize approval certificate to the Executive Director, IAR, Prof. Ishiyaku Mohammed underscored that the approval was granted following consideration of advice by the National Biosafety Committee, the National Biosafety Technical Sub-Committee and the risk Management report provided by the applicant.

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) is a Federal Government agency mandated to regulate genetically modified products in the country.

Ebegba pointed out that his agency was convinced that there were no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risk to human health.

Shedding light on the development of Tela Maize, Nigeria Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr Rose Gidado, said the research was conducted for 3 years under constant monitoring of the National Biosafety Management Agency NBMA to ensure compliance to standard regulations.

In her words, “This work was done by our own scientist at the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The Team comprises Breeders, Agronomists, entomologists etc.

“Data was generated and submitted to NBMA for evaluation and approval. The evaluation process was carried out by experts from the Universities, government agencies and professional bodies.

“They made a recommendation to NBMA. NMBA in consultation with other international regulatory organizations like WHO, FAO etc gave the final approval.

“The approval and certification confirm that the genes of insert are safe for human consumption, animal feed and to the environment. This is what this deregulation approval stands for.”

Gidado urged the media to avoid creating unnecessary panic among Nigerians.

On his part, Director, NextGen Cassava Basics II Project, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Prof Chiedozie Egesi, explained that Kenya recently released GM cassava which was a global first adding that the country has many other crops in the wheels.

He said “Nigeria, in an untypical manner is leading genetic improvement research in sub–Saharan Africa and has two products – bt cowpea and Tela maize – to show for it. But we have advanced ongoing work for high iron/zinc cassava, rice and others in the research pipeline, coming through in a year or two.

“How would you sell your story with an argument that the US rejects a maize variety because it was GM? US is an inventor and promoter ,on the contrary, of this kind of science. Aside from South Africa and Egypt, Nigeria is now miles ahead of others in this kind of science- genetic modification and gene editing of crops – to say the least” Egesi pointed.

The Scientist ,therefore, called on Nigerians to advocate for the adoption of sound cutting-edge science for food and nutrition security and in agribusiness.

The post US, Kenya Didn’t Reject TELA Maize – Experts React appeared first on AgroNigeria.

Sourced from Agro Nigeria

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