Home Lifestyle Health HOMEF Raises Awareness, Says No To GMOs

HOMEF Raises Awareness, Says No To GMOs


HOMEF Raises Awareness, Says No To GMOs

By Chika Sophia, Abuja

In a one-day media training organised by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation(HOMEF) to expose the challenges surrounding our food system and the benefits of food sovereignty, HOMEF tasks the federal government with ending the release of every Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and investing in local varieties that promote organic foods to ensure the preservation of a healthy food system.

In a presentation, Hauwa Mustapha attributed GMOs and Climate Change as the dominant factors affecting food security and food sovereignty in Nigeria. Mustapha noted that farmers should be educated, engaged, and given the needed and useful information about seeds.

“With about 800 million people around the globe living with food insecurity, just as 25 million Nigerians suffer from poverty as a result of food insecurity. High cost of fertilizer, poor harvest caused by pests, banditry, cattle encroachment, and poor storage facilities are some of the farmers’ challenges. We must not undermine the knowledge of local farmers because they also have information, experience, and knowledge we do not have”.

“The government must provide the right information to the farmers and respect the years of experience and knowledge that local farmers have used to produce food for generations. The government should prioritize organic farming for local consumption and reduce the use of chemicals, noting that negligence and the cultivation of GM seeds can pollute the soil. If we do not prioritise local production of healthy organic food, we will soon be overwhelmed by GMOs, which in turn will cost us lives and livelihoods.”

Also, Dr Jacqueline Ikeotuonye, warns that the expansive use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in agriculture is one of the most potent symbols of the worldwide threat to food justice and sovereignty. The world, however, continues to resist this uniquely controversial and invasive form of genetic manipulation of our food. Dr Ikeoyunye further called on the media to change the narrative by exposing the complacency and apathy that allowed the creeping of genetically engineered foods into our system.

“A toxic mix of factors has ensured that the country’s food system remains compromised and does not meet the needs of a large chunk of the population. The government should enforce proper labeling of products to indicate their GMO contents to help consumers make healthier food choices. Nigerians need to be wary of pesticide-infested foods in the market; these food products cause cancer, kidney failure, and all manner of diseases. People must prioritise producing their foods.”

During the panel discussion, Ikenna Ofoegbu stated that the excessive use of pesticides has done more harm than good to the soil, adding that 90% of farmers depend on highly hazardous chemicals to grow their food, making it unhealthy for consumption.

Deputy Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Barr Mariann Bassey Orovwuje, observed that the food policy is not people-friendly, and the government does not prioritize the farmers. She said, ‘Food sovereignty is eating healthy food, and food security is eating anything.’

Lack of access to the choice of traditional seeds for the farmer has increasingly begun to affect food production, and the inability to access organic seeds, fertilizer, pest infestations, banditry, and insecurity inside farms has contributed to food insecurity.

The training emphasised that subsistence farming is vital to kicking out GMOs and fighting food insecurity in Nigeria.
The group also asked that the responsibilities of the country’s Food Systems Regulators be streamlined to ensure that only healthy and nutritious foods are approved for consumption and distribution among the population.

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