NASC, NABDA train 20 scientists on detection of genetically modified seeds
As the country gears up for the commercialization of Genetically Modified (GM) crops, the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) has commenced the training of 20 seed scientists on the detection of GM seeds.
GMO means Genetically Modified Organisms including seeds. The Director of the Agency, Philip Ojo while declaring open the one week training at the National Agricultural Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) noted that there is no difference between GMO and organic seeds except through special techniques.
While noting that the training was apt and significant for the benefit of the farmers “he said now that GMO is not officially in the market it is important to train the seed expect in the detection process as you cannot easily identify the seed with your physical eyes.
Ojo, who was represented by the Deputy Director in charge of seed coordination, Mr. Joseph Omole explained that irrespective of the seed type, farmers should have access to quality and certified seeds to realize Federal Government plan of developing the agriculture sector and increasing food production.
Earlier, DG of NABDA, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, described GMO as a controversial issue that should be addressed by science experts based on facts and empirical findings.
She said it would be difficult for the seed council to detect GMO seeds, except with the use of modern technological equipment, urging the public to shun sentiments and embrace modern biotechnology, as this would help reduce food insecurity.
Ogbadu explained: “Of recent, we have heard in the news, print and electronic media, outcry over GMOs. Some people say it caused cancer, other said it is dangerous but we as scientists are open minded. Scientists work on empirical evident.
“Our work is experimental, we experiment and wait for observation and make our observation on what we see we don’t talk anyhow, we talk based on facts that are available to us. So it is my prayer today that you will leave here better equipped with answers to some of these questions.
“I want you to open your mind to the science you have come to do. You are to be trained on how to detect GMOs, I want to tell you that from the beginning, there is no where you can identify GMO from the one that is not GMO with bear eyes even with microscope that is to show that they don’t look any different.”
She condemned insinuations that Mosanto, a leading global seed company, was funding the agency. According to her, Mosanto is like many other seed companies that sell GM seeds to countries.
However, she clarified that the firm cannot import GM seeds into the country, adding that the seeds would have to be domesticated and be subjected to field trials before distributing to farmers.