Jan. 30, 2014
Caritas Nigeria, an NGO, said on Wednesday in Abuja that Nigeria needed to develop infrastructures to ensure food security and not Genetically Modified (GM) seeds.
Rev. Fr. Everistus Bassey, the Executive Secretary, Caritas Nigeria, said this while speaking with the News agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Caritas Nigeria is an agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria saddled with the task to intervene in development and humanitarian issues.
GM seeds are seeds which the genetic materials (DNA) have been deliberately altered by scientists with a view boosting yields and improving nutritional value.
Bassey said that Nigeria was not yet ready for GM seeds.
He said that the Catholic Church is a proponent of scientific development but will continue to insist on the dignity of nature and creation.
The executive secretary decried the high level of wastage resulting from inadequate storage facilities and poor road network, and urged the government to pay more attention to the development of infrastructures.
“It is said `think global but act locally’; looking at this country, I do not think we are ripe for GM seeds.
“If you travel round the country by road, you will see uncultivated land mass; we have not even exusted the land that exists.
“May be in the future or in areas where there are no lands at all or diseased areas, that is where such development can come in.
“The church is not against development; the concern of the church is the dignity of creation; that you have scientific knowledge does not mean you go toil with natural order anyhow.’’
Bassey said the danger GM seeds lay in their ability to dominate other seeds and prevent them growing well even after the GM seeds had been harvested.
According to him, the economic slavery envisaged by farmers in regard to GM seeds is genuine.
“Nigerians should not just jump in to GM seeds because the West is saying it.’’
He, however, said the reasons being advanced in favour of GM seeds by its proponents seemed good but that Nigeria was not ready for it.
The cleric recommended access to resources, market, introduction of social safety, employment, storage and processing facilities and good road network, to guarantee food for the nation.
Meanwhile, Bassesy has called for the active participation of organisations and families in the 2014 International Family Farming Year programme declared by the UN.
He blamed the hunger in Nigeria on bad governance over the years.
He stressed the need for the government to see food as the right of the citizens and do everything possible to make it affordable and accessible to the public.
“Improve accountability, reduce corruption and waste, we shall ensure food security without GM seeds,’’ Bassey stressed. (NAN)