Nigeria: Groups Protest Genetically Modified Crops, Harmful To Human Consumption


As part of its commitment to environmental justice, the Health of Mother Earth Foundation has stepped up its campaign against the adoption of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) crops, which are not only harmful to human health, but also to the soil. Mr. Olugbenga Adeoluwa, an Associate Professor of the Department of Soil Resources Management, University of Ibadan, stated that most of the genetic alterations within seeds usually involved chemical manipulations, which are unhealthy for both humans and the environment.

“We are destroying the environment by our various methods of agricultural practices”. Mr. Adeoluwa also stated that the organic farming approach, which is a subset of agroecology, offers the safest and most sustainable agriculture that is both beneficial for humans and the environment.

Mr. Adeoluwa, who is as well the Continental Coordinator, Network of Organic Agriculture Researches in Africa, spoke at the practical agroecology training for farmers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja, explaining that Nigerian agricultural exports to Europe and other international markets had often been rejected over the use and abuse of chemicals especially when preserving produce.

“It’s a dangerous situation. Banned chemicals from other countries get into the hands of farmers here and there’s no control. The farmers producing them can’t even consume them because many of them know the impact this would have on human health.” He adds that agroecology still remains as the way to go as it enables good market and good agricultural practices, stressing that organic farming is based on approved standards that regulate the planting, processing and handling processes.

Kome Odhomor, the Head of Communications, HOMEF, had mentioned that the new GMO seeds, which are being distributed to farmers “are the things that are destroying our soil”. She said, “These seeds have chemicals. We all know about GMOs. These are things that HOMEF has constantly talked about. We are not in support of GMOs in our society and that’s why we decided to put these programmes together about agro-ecology.”

Odhomor said, “We are of the opinion that agro-ecology can definitely feed Nigeria and we are here today to train farmers on how they can use organic fertilisers. We are not in support of GMOs in our society. We are teaching them how organic fertilisers can be used to preserve our environment. These organic fertilisers can be used to nurture the soil and also produce good food which would be good for each and every one of us.”

Further commenting on the health implications of GMO-enhanced produce, she said, “Recently, we’ve been seeing too many cases of cancers, infections and skin diseases that we can’t know where they are coming from and most of these things can sometimes be attributed to the kinds of food we eat- too much of chemicals. So, we are trying to use this programme today to educate farmers to let them know that there are natural ways of producing these things and can actually be beneficial to them.”