National Biosafety Management Agency ascertains GMO safety in Nigeria

NIGERIA – The Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, has guaranteed the safety of the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) released in Nigeria stressing that rigorous analysis and risk assessments had been carried out on them. Ebegba, who divulged this in Lagos, at a Sensitization Workshop on Biosafety; GMO Safety and Regulation, noted that since the commercialization of GMOs in 1996, there have been speculations that it is harmful to human health, without any scientific evidence. He said the regulation of GMOs was based on scientific evidence and…

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Philippines nods commercial cultivation of GE Golden Rice to curb nutrient deficiency

PHILIPPINES – Farmers in the Philippines have obtained the seal of approval to grow genetically engineered Golden Rice, which contains additional levels of beta-carotene that the body converts into essential vitamin A to improve health, especially in young children. The commercial cultivation permit was issued on July 21, marking the successful culmination of a decades-long initiative. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) developed the improved grain in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) under the Healthier Rice project. “This milestone puts the Philippines at the global…

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Ghana’s MESTI minister rekindles GMO based debates among citizens

GHANA – The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has resuscitated the debate on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), highlighting that his Ministry will team up with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other key stakeholders, to ensure that such a debate is organized to enable Ghanaians make an informed decision on the subject. GMOs are organisms whose genetic materials have been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Dr Afriyie made these remarks during a visit to the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) and the Nuclear Regulatory…

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Research institutions in Nigeria develop GE rice to bolster yields

NIGERIA – The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in association with National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) and the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) among other research institutions in Nigeria has developed a Genetically Engineered (GE) rice which could increase yield by 20 per cent and significantly boost the food security agenda of the federal government. The foundation said the Nitrogen Efficient Water Efficient Salt Tolerant (NEWEST) rice type, will be a game changer in the production of the grain, aiding to significantly reduce importation. Speaking during the 2021 annual…

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Nigeria launches transgenic insect resistant cowpea

NIGERIA – Nigeria has officially launched and released a genetically modified (GM) cowpea variety, which is resistant to the pod borer pest. The pod borer-resistant (PBR) cowpea popularly known as beans in Nigeria is resistant to the insect pest Maruca vitrata, which is accountable for up to 80 percent yield losses. PBR cowpea was first released in Nigeria in December 2019 as the SAMPEA 20-T variety. It is the product of an international partnership under the coordination of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) that included scientists from the Institute…

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EFSA panel asserts safety of genetically modified oilseed rape 73496

EUROPE – The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has affirmed the non-toxicity and non-allergenicity of oilseed rape 73496 following a risk assessment. Oilseed rape 73496 was developed to confer tolerance to glyphosate through the expression of the glyphosate acetyltransferase protein GAT4621. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide and a plant’s tolerance to it enables farmers to kill weeds without harming the crops thus enhancing yields.  The GMO panel was tasked to carry out a scientific assessment of oilseed rape 73496 meant for import, processing and…

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KALRO pushes for commercialization of Bt maize, wants ban on Genetically modified crops lifted

KENYA – Researchers at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) are seeking approval from government institutions such as the National Biosafety Authority and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS), to formally introduce Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) maize in the country. Bt is a species of bacteria that lives in soil and makes proteins that are toxic to specific insects when eaten. It has long been popular with organic farmers because it is considered a “natural insecticide” hence aids in curbing environmental pollution. The Kenyan maize production capacity has dwindled…

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