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[genet-news] AGRICULTURE & DEVELOPMENT: ERA condemns plan of Nigerian Government to distribute GMO seeds to farmers



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  ERA CONDEMNS FG?S PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE GMO SEEDS TO FARMERS

SOURCE: Vanguard, Nigeria

AUTHOR: Dan Gumm

URL:    http://www.vanguardngr.com/content/view/33603/43/

DATE:   15.04.2009

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ERA CONDEMNS FG?S PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE GMO SEEDS TO FARMERS

THE Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has condemned plans by the Federal Government to distribute Genetically Modified Crops to Nigerian farmers in the current farming season, saying the decision is at the instance of biotech firms that want to dictate Nigeria?s food needs for profit motives only. According to ERA/FoEN, ?the move is also not supported by law and is against the spirit of the precautionary principle of the Caragena Protocol which Nigeria has endorsed.?

ERA/FoEN?s stance is coming on the heels of media reports quoting Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Bako Zaku, as saying the ministry had concluded plans to start the distribution of biotechnology seeds to farmers, a step which it wants Nigerians to embrace.

But in a reaction through a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN warned that the minister?s arguments about how well GMOs are doing in the world are all from a discredited report packaged by biotech industry-backed International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

?Distributing GMO seeds to Nigerian farmers is the culmination of a systematic attempt to allow profit-driven biotech companies to dictate what we grow, how we grow it and what we eat. We demand that the minister says the truth about the unfulfilled promises of the biotech industry and their GM crops,? advised ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  ERA CONDEMNS ALLEGED IITA?S PLAN TO ENRICH CASSAVA

SOURCE: Vanguard, Nigeria

AUTHOR: Daniel Gumm

URL:    http://www.vanguardngr.com/content/view/32391/46/

DATE:   31.03.2009

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ERA CONDEMNS ALLEGED IITA?S PLAN TO ENRICH CASSAVA

THE Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has criticised plans by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to carry out an alleged enrichment of Nigerian cassava, saying the exercise, if not halted by the Federal Government, is the culmination of a script written by the biotech industry to jeopardise Nigeria?s food sovereignty forever. A release from the USAID which was widely reported in the national dailies last week had stated that scientists at the IITA are working on cassava-based recipes that will be used in improving the nutrition and health of vulnerable groups such as women, children under five, and expectant mothers.

The research, christened, ?Unleash the Power of Cassava in Africa (UPoCA),? is getting a $5.3 million funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is a two-year project to introduce and test cassava-based complementary food for acceptability in Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.

UPoCA is coming on the heels of the Nigerian government?s alleged approval for the Danforth Centre in U.S to carry out contained field trials on a so-called super cassava in Nigeria with National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike in Imo State as a cover.

But in a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN frowned at the silence of the government on the planned trials, warning that the flurry of ?back-door? approvals and researches to flood Nigeria with genetically modified crops in the guise of crop improvement is a grand ploy to colonise Nigeria?s food future. ERA/FoEN is worried that this experiment is seeking to use children, women and pregnant women as Guinea pigs for doubtful ends.


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