Why Nigeria must never accept GMOs, by expert
AN international environmentalist and agriculturist, Dr. Vandana Shiva, has raised the alarm over proposed introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into Nigeria and other African countries, with the signing of the Biosafety law, describing it as suicidal.
She warned that the introduction of the crop into Nigeria is another means the GMO originator ‘Mosanto’ and other food corporations from the West want to use to make huge profits out of Africa and enslave farmers at the expense of their well-being. Shiva who disclosed this at a press briefing organised by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) in Abuja, said “Monsanto and other food corporations from the West are out in Africa to make huge profits and enslave African farmers at the expense of their well-being.”
She maintained that GMOs are not the best science and technology for food production and survival of Africans, rather the approach is deadly to the soil and human existence.
Shiva gave examples of the devastation GMOs have caused in India, United States of America and other parts of the world where they have adopted the method in food production.
According to her, many farmers are now indebted to Monsanto, because they owe to get seeds and this has trapped farmers in dependency and debt, and some farmers, out of frustration of huge debts, have committed suicide.
Shiva said: “The pressure on Africa to adopt uniform seed laws such as those promoted under African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) is all aimed at seed colonization of Africa and must be resisted. “The same goes with the promotion of GMOs through the weak Bio-safety bills such as the one signed into law in Nigeria in the last week of the previous presidency. “The unrelenting attack on our staple foods, including our cassava, cowpea (beans), corn and banana must be halted.
The planting of genetically modified cotton in Burkina Faso was held up as a great success, yielding bumper harvests and enriching farmers.
Recently, Burkina Faso stopped planting BT. Cotton. What example will they bring up next? Will Nigeria walk into that trap with her eyes open? “While these costly inputs make super-profits for giant corporations, they destroy our soils, and trap our farmers in dependency and debt.
With over 300,000 farmers’ suicides already recorded in India, the harmful nature of this agricultural model is without doubt.” She accused food corporations of failure to deliver on their promises to communities, rather use sugar-coated words to convince and confuse African governments to accept their commodity at the detriment of the health of the soil and human beings who consume them.
The adoption of genetically engineered seeds and organisms, and chemical fertilizers by African nations has been described as suicidal as they do not deliver on any of their promises but rather have yielded a harvest of pains, deprivation and deaths.
Earlier in his speech, Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, said the situation of farmers in Africa, especially Nigeria, was terrible due to various abuses the soil suffers and it has negatively affected their well-being.
Bassey also urged the government to be careful with certain technologies that will not help the agricultural sector, and avoid the devastation done by oil companies on the land and waters of Niger Delta region.