The Federal Government has held an Expert Meeting on GMOs in Nigeria. The meeting was held on 15th of August 2016 at Sheraton Hotel Abuja.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, having signed and ratified the internationally binding Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), adopted the Biotechnology Policy in 2001 to use biotechnology as an alternative tool for sustainable and improved food production, industrial growth, environmental sustainability and improved health care delivery, to meet the demand of its population. To drive the process of implementing the National Biotechnology Policy, the National Biotechnology Development Agency was immediately established the same year, 2001.
The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) Act 2015 established the National Biosafety Management Agency as an Agency of the Federal Ministry of Environment to provide a regulatory framework to adequately safe guard human health and the environment from potential adverse impacts of modern biotechnology, while harnessing the potentials benefits of the technology and its derivatives. The Act came into force on the 18th of April 2015.
In View of the concerns raised by Nigerians about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in Nigeria with inadequate awareness of GMOs and Biosafety, Environment Ministers in collaboration with Hon. Ministers of Agric & Science and Technology held an Experts Meeting.
They looked at addressing public concerns on the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods and feeds, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on biodiversity and socio-economic issues, identifying ways to strengthen the National Biosafety Management Act 2015; and advising the government on policy direction and clarification of Nigeria’s position on Biotechnology and GMOs, taking into account the existence of the National Biosafety Management Act 2015, the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), ARCN and over 20 Research Institutes in Nigeria, with the capacity to carry out biotechnology activities.
Speaking at the event, HM Amina J Mohammed said that at the end of the Expert Meeting, she hopes that participants finds solutions & alternatives towards diversifying the Nigerian economy.
The outcome of the Technical session and the entire meeting will be presented to the Hon. Ministers for further deliberation and decisions.