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Why are Nigerian Anti-GMO group jittery about GM cowpea?


It beats my imagination why some group of persons would fight against the commercialization of Genetically Modified Cowpea (PBR Cowpea) which has been established as an alternative to the conventional cowpea which is constantly ravage by pests while on the field.

Maruca Vitrata (Pod Borer) is a pest which has threatened the survival of Cowpea while on field over the years. Nigerian farmers have almost been discouraged from planting cowpea because Maruca is capable of destroying about 80 per cent of cowpea in the field.

Nigerian scientists over the years have been looking for a permanent solution to the life and destiny threatening pest until the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea (PBR Cowpea) was developed.

This new crop variety received a heavy kick by the Anti-GMO group in Nigeria, calling for the crop to be banned from entering the Nigerian market.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Biosafety Agency, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), after carrying out environmental and risk assessment of the new crop variety, certified and gave approval for environmental release of the crop.

Nigerian farmers were left to suffer by the so called Anti-GMO groups when their farms were being ravage by Maruca, but immediately a solution was discovered, the Antis suddenly became ‘caring’ towards the Nigerian cowpea farmers.

Does it mean that the Anti-GMO want the Nigerian farmers to continue suffering? Are the Anti-GMO happy with the amount of money spent by farmers to buy chemicals to control Maruca?

PBR Cowpea has the potential to resist the attacks from Maruca with little or no application of chemical pesticides.

Conventional cowpea requires about 8 times spray of chemical pesticide on the field to control Maruca, while the PBR Cowpea requires just 3 sprays while on field.

Now, it has been established that though the chemical pesticides can control pests on the field, but the long term effects of these chemicals are dangerous to the farmers and the ecosystem.

Excessive use chemicals to control pest on cowpea led to the European Union banning of Nigerian beans into their market.

Now, I ask again, are the Anti-GMO not concerned about the health of the farmers that spray these chemicals and the health of our ecosystem? Are the Anti-GMO not aware that Nigerian cowpea was banned entrance into the EU market due to excessive use of chemicals?

Anybody who claims to love Nigeria would rally round our scientists, support them is developing crops like the PBR Cowpea to help our farmers produce more with less risk and guarantee food security

About Edwin

Edwin is an agriculture enthusiast who believes in the potency of agriculture in driving economic growth in developing countries. He also believes in the use of biotechnology to advance agriculture in order to fight hunger and poverty. Edwin believes in the power of the media to bridge the gap between policy makers, sector actors and the farmers, especially those in the rural areas.

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