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Newly approved TELA maize by FG rejected in Kenya, USA – HOMEF

By Nneka Nwogwugwu

The newly approved genetically modified TELA Maize variety by the Federal Government was rejected by the United States Government and Kenya, the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has revealed.

The Director, HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, during a media ‘Training on Agroecology as a viable Solution to Climate and Food Crisis,’ in Abuja, said that the maize variety was rejected in those countries, due to its inability to withstand drought.

Bassey argued that the only drought tolerant crop is the indigenous maize crop that has grown and familiarised with the environment.

Bassey criticised the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) for promoting the development of food crop that has been rejected by other countries.

“A few people should not be dictating to us what we grow or eat. Farmers should be able to decide for themselves. There are strong forces at the corridors of power that just want to destroy our food system, erode our biodiversity and handover agricultural system to the colonialist. It is a political agenda. To start with, that Nigeria population is 200 million is fictional, it is not true. Government needs to know the actual population of the country.

“The politics of GMO is about who controls the market, it is not about feeding the people, Africa is not as populated as it has been peddled by the developed nations, the truth is that our farmers can feed us and they have been feeding us, what they need is basic extension support from the government,” he said as quoted by the Guardian.

Recall that the new maize variety was developed by researchers at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.

The approval of the maize was contained in a certificate issued to Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), the Federal Government agency mandated to regulate genetically modified products in the country.

The certificate dated October 8, 2021, with permit code no. NBMA/CM/003 was issued to IAR for General/Commercial Release of TELA Maize Genetically Modified for Drought Tolerance, Resistance to Stem Borer and Fall Armyworm. The certificate will be in force till October 5, 2024.

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