Inclusion of Smallholder Farmers, Consumers in Genetically Modified Organisms Education in Nigeria

Spread the love

Human being and animals’ existence in the universe cannot be weighed without food. Food is a great necessity to man, whichever way food is prepared it has both benefits and conditions to the consumer.

Farmers are the key player in food processing ecosystem from the soil to the table and primary engineers of food crops when it comes to safety. To ensured food safety, smallholder farmers’awareness of new development in biotechnology products such as the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a key.

Genetically modified organisms are organisms (plants or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered through a laboratory operation in a way that does not occur naturally by gene and after being induced. The technology applied in this process of plant or crop gene transformation is usually called modern biotechnology recombination.

For a better understanding, these induced crops are commonly available in most modern markets where you can see Apple fruits, Cowpea, and veggies of different colors, sizes, and breed. This alteration to the developmental process of food is to beat the natural time of maturity and harvest, increase sale and quantity of such product in the market, attracts more customers and the like.

In Nigeria, on 10th May 2019, from a report of Business Day of Dr. Rufus Ebegba, Director General of Nigeria Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), said, his agency is ensuring living organisms in the area genetically modified organisms will be deployed will not be threatened and for the genetically modified organisms not to become dominant or invasive that it causes total eradication of other living organisms.

One can’t ascertain completely that there can’t be a risk to human life from this improved biotechnology compare to various areas where they will and how they will be used.

Also, the level of people’s awareness of these GMO foods both the approved crops (such as Cowpea, Cotton, Sorghum) and the ones used in animal feed is low in Nigeria. The majority of farmers are not well informed about these products apart from what they see in the market and from seeds sellers and as regard to profits.

Barns Connect is an organization working toward ensuring food security, food safety, and food labeling law in Nigeria. Mostly in her outreaches to the markets and farms to educate Nigerians (through her #MyFoodMyChoice #GMOLabeling campaign) about GMO foods and labeling proved that people don’t know what genetically modified organisms seeds/crops are.

Largely, farmers refer to the seeds as “Agric seeds”. The fear is not of the producers of GMOs but the risk that a bridge and dysfunction on the food to consumers can cause.

We are calling on Federal government, Ministry of Health, NBMA, NAFDAC, and FCCPC to ensure there is the inclusion of smallholder farmers (especially farmers living in rural area) and consumers on massive education for the awareness of the genetically modified organisms crops for the safety of Nigerians; right to choice and knowing the food they consume.

We’ve come so far in investigating the value of these induced crops but the key players should not be left unaware. It’s highly commendable that both relevant agencies work hand in hand with the people that use the regulated GMO products in Nigeria. 

Godwin Adinoyi Jimoh
Barns Connect
Email Address:

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *