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FG approves genetically modified maize for open cultivation

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FG approves genetically modified maize for open cultivation

The federal government on Sunday granted environmental approval for the assessment and outdoor cultivation of TELA corn in the country.

This is contained in a statement by Mr. Alex Abutu, Communications Officer of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), West and Central Africa, in Abuja.

Abutu explained that TELA maize is a variety developed by researchers at the Agricultural Research Institute (IAR) of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, which is resistant to fall armyworm, stem borers and tolerates drought. moderate.

He said the decision is contained in a certificate issued to the IRA by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

The NBMA is an agency mandated to regulate genetically modified products in the country.

He stated that the certificate, dated October 8, 2021, with the permit code no. NBMA / CM / 003, has been issued to IAR for general / commercial release of TELA maize genetically modified for drought tolerance, resistance to stem borer and fall armyworm.

It comes into force from October 8, 2021 to October 5, 2024.

According to him, the document accompanying the NBMA certificate indicated that in arriving at the decision to grant the permit, the agency had taken into consideration the opinion of its technical sub-committee and the risk management report provided by the applicant.

“The Agency was convinced that there are no known negative impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, given the risks to human health.

“The permit, in accordance with this decision, is without prejudice to other legal requirements in force.

“This permit authorizes the permit holder and persons covered by the permit to market TELA corn genetically modified for drought tolerance and insect resistance,” he said.

The statement quoted Professor Ishiyaku Mohammed, executive director of the IAR, as saying that it was truly inspiring for the IAR to get NBMA approval for the commercial release of drought and insect resistant corn (TELA MAIZE).

“This further highlights the capacity and commitment of IAR to provide effective solutions to the agricultural problems facing our farmers and to optimize the food security of Nigerians.

“The approval will pave the way for combating the devastating effects of drought and insect pests through the deployment of this new variety of corn in our farming system.

“The next step is to further assess the performance of this new variety by farmers on their fields in all major maize growing areas in Nigeria.

“Thereafter, we will seek further approval from the National Variety Release Committee before making the seeds commercially available to farmers for sowing in the 2023 harvest season.

The statement also quotes Dr Canisius Kagire, executive director of AATF, as saying that the approval showed Nigeria truly is the giant leading the way in Africa.

Kagaire said the office will ensure small farmers benefit from life-changing technologies that have transformed agriculture in other parts of the world.

“The approval of the Government of Nigeria is a sign that we are making good progress, especially in our quest to expand options for smallholder farmers.

In addition, Dr Sylvester Oikeh, AATF TELA corn project manager, said in the statement that the approval would be the start of a new era for corn farmers who have suffered badly from the double problem of drought. and devastating insect pests caused by climate change.

Professor Rabiu Adamu, principal investigator of TELA Maize, said that with deregulation, the institute would be allowed to conduct multi-location trials to assess the yield and adaptability of TELA hybrids in different agroecologies in Nigeria. .

Source: NAN

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