Category Archives: Uncategorized

20 Years of Success – Global status of commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2015 (ISAAA)

isaaa-infographicToday, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) released its annual report detailing the adoption of biotech crops, “20th Anniversary of the Global Commercialization of Biotech Crops (1996-2015) and Biotech Crop Highlights in 2015,” showcasing the global increase in biotech hectarage from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 179.7 million hectares in 2015. This 100-fold increase in just 20 years makes biotechnology the fastest adopted crop technology in recent times, reflecting farmer satisfaction with biotech crops. Since 1996, 2 billon hectares of arable land – a massive area more than twice the landmass of China or the United States – have been planted with biotech crops. Additionally, it is estimated that farmers in up to 28 countries have reaped more than US$150 billion in benefits from biotech crops since 1996. This has helped alleviate poverty for up to 16.5 million small farmers and their families annually totaling about 65 million people, who are some of the poorest people in the world. READ MORE

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Biotechnology: ‘Don’t make restrictive bill’

A principal state attorney in the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has called for flexibility in the drafting of the National Biotechnology & Biosafety Bill 2012.

The bill that has already been tabled in Parliament is still under scrutiny, with groups calling for amendments especially in relation to fines and penalties.

Harriet Ityang was presenting a paper ‘Understanding the Scope and Relevance of the Uganda Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill’ at a media BioCafe at the Uganda National Farmers Federation conference hall in Nakasero. READ MORE

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Minister seeks more research, transparency on biotechnology

Amina-MohammedThe Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has called for more research, transparency and openness, as Nigeria ventures into commercial biotechnology.

Amina, who answered journalists’ questions on concerns raised by anti-GMOs on Nigeria’s venture into biotechnology, yesterday noted that the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) had government backing to police the technology in Nigeria.

At a meeting with officials of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) in Abuja, Amina called for greater public engagement on the technology. “We need more research and we need to listen to people where they have concerns. We have to answer those frequently asked questions because without responding to people’s concerns, we are leaving perception of not caring or not doing our homework. We have to be more open to people and transparent to everyone, also hear every one’s concern and address them. With the Biosafety Agency now in place, we can begin to do that a lot more.” READ MORE

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Expert Groups across Nigeria Slam Monsanto over Plans to Introduce GM Crops

Nnimmo BasseyOne hundred groups representing over five million Nigerians, comprising of farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and local community groups, are vehemently opposing Monsanto’s attempts to introduce genetically modified (GM) cotton and maize into Nigeria’s food and farming systems. In written objections submitted to the Nigerian biosafety regulators Monday, the groups have cited numerous serious health and environmental concerns and the failure of these crops, especially GM cotton, in Africa.

Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited has applied to the National Biosafety Management Agency (NABMA) for the environmental release and placing in the market in Zaria and surrounding towns of GM cotton (Bt cotton, event MON 15985). A further application is for the confined field trial (CFT) of two GM maize varieties (NK603 and stacked event MON 89034 x NK603) in multiple locations in Nigeria. READ MORE

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Nigeria needs seed revolution – Ogbeh

Chief Audu OgbehMinister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, says Nigeria needs a seed industry revolution to close the supply-demand gap of about 231,000 metric tonnes.
Chief Ogbeh spoke yesterday in Abuja at the workshop on developing a rapid action plan for quality seed production and presentation of the alliance for a seed industry in West Africa. READ MORE

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Modern Biotechnology ‘ll Trigger Agric Revolution – NBMA DG

Rufus-Ebegba (1)The director-general of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Mr Rufus Ebegba, has said that the safe application of modern biotechnology will trigger agricultural revolution in Nigeria.Ebegba stated this yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit on the management of LEADERSHIP newspapers at its corporate headquarters in Abuja.

According to Ebegba, modern biotechnology has the huge potential to enhance the agricultural sector by drastically improving the output of farmers.The NBMA boss said the Biosafety Act recently signed into law by the federal government will enable the new parastatal under the Ministry of Environment to effectively regulate the safe application of biotechnology in the nation. READ MORE

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COTTON PHOTOMore than 500,000 Nigerians would be employed in the textile industry when the Genetically Modified cotton is finally released into the market, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association has said.  The acting Director General of the group, Hamma Kwajaffa, said in a statement yesterday that the GM cotton would reposition the textile industry and create thousands of jobs in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

He said cotton farming in Nigeria over the years had suffered because the opportunity cost of planting cotton had remained high. “We view the recent submission of an application for the environmental release and placing in market of Genetically Modified insect protected (Bt) Cotton that can play an immense role in restoring attraction to cotton farming as well as reviving and repositioning the textile sector as a welcome development capable of reviving the entire industry,” he said. He commended the federal government for establishing the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), to help safeguard human health and environmental safety concerns that the introduction of GMO may generate among members of the public. READ MORE

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Why we are supporting Bt Cotton in Nigeria – Textile manufacturers

Members of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association have thrown their weights behind the application of Monsanto agriculture before the National Biosafety Management Agency for the consideration of Environmental release and placing in market of genetically modified insect-protected (Bt) cotton in Nigeria.

The body said Genetically Modified insect protected (Bt) Cotton can play an immense role in restoring attraction to cotton farming as well as reviving and repositioning the textile sector in the country. In a release made available to Vanguard, the Acting Director General of the association, Hamma Kwajafa, explained that lack of confidence by participants across the cotton value chain over the years restricted the much-needed investment, adding that one of the root causes of this is tied tightly to the most important input in the industry, the cotton crop.  READ MORE

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Calestous Juma: GM is an important tool..

Calestous Juma directs the Harvard-based Agricultural Innovation in Africa project, which is funded by the Gates Foundation and supports the use of GM crops.

Calestous Juma directs the Harvard-based Agricultural Innovation in Africa project, which is funded by the Gates Foundation and supports the use of GM crops.

“In 30 years we’ll have a population of nine billion people to feed and that will increase demand for the quantity and diversity of the food that we need – that’s why we have to consider GM as one of the tools – but not the only tool – that would help humanity to address those challenges.
“[Opposition to GM is] not irrational. Farmers who are opposed to GM crops because they might have negative impacts on their income – you can say they are not being irrational. And then people who think that we are changing the environment in ways that are not predictable, they have reasons for doing that.
“[But] I think it’s unhelpful because it’s driven by present day observations, but does not take into account long-term considerations. I strongly believe that, as problems expand, you also expand your toolbox.
“I don’t think that genetic engineering in itself embodies a particular farming system. Yes, it is true that the way the technology is developed initially could exclude some sections of the Continue reading

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