FG Authorizes Unrestricted Cultivation of Genetically Modified Maize

Federal officials gave their blessing on Sunday to the unrestricted growth of TELA Maize in the nation after it was given environmental clearance for testing.

In Abuja, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Communication Officer Alex Abutu said as much in a statement.

TELA maize, according to Abutu, is a cultivar created by scientists at Ahmadu Bello University’s Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), which is resistant to autumn armyworm and stem borer infestations as well as mild drought.

He said that the National Biosafety Management Agency had given a certificate to IAR, which included the decision (NBMA).

The National Biotechnology and Medical Association (NBMA) is a government body tasked with overseeing the country’s use of genetically modified organisms.

IAR was granted permission to release TELA maize genetically modified for drought tolerance, resistance to stem borer, and fall armyworm, according to the certificate given to IAR on October 8, 2021, with permit number no. NBMA/CM/003.

Starting on October 8, 2021, it will go till the end of the year, October 5, 2024.

According to him, the certificate from NBMA came with a statement stating that the agency had considered the opinion of its Technical Sub-Committee as well as the risk management report submitted by the applicant when making its decision to issue the permit

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He added that: 

“The Agency was convinced that there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risk to human health.

“The permit, pursuant to this decision, is without prejudice to other extant legal requirements.

“This permit authorizes the permit holder and persons covered by the permit to commercialize the TELA Maize genetically modified for drought tolerance and insect resistance,” 

NBMA clearance for the commercial release of the drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize was described as very inspirational by IAR Executive Director Prof Ishiyaku Mohammed, according to the announcement (TELA MAIZE).

“This goes to further highlight IAR’s capacity and commitment to providing effective solutions to agricultural problems facing our farmers and optimizing food security for Nigerians.

According to the statement, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, AATF’s Executive Director, the clearance shows that Nigeria is Africa’s behemoth.

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

According to Kanangaire, the office would see to it that smallholder farmers in other areas of the world benefit from life-changing innovations that have revolutionized farming.

AATF TELA Maize Team Lead Dr. Sylvester Oikeh stated in the statement that the permission will be the watershed moment for maize producers who have suffered tremendously from the dual issue of drought and severe insect infestations caused by climate change.

Agro-ecological yield and adaptation of the TELA hybrids in Nigeria will be evaluated via multilocation experiments, according to Prof. Rabiu Adamu, principal investigator for the TELA Maize project.

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