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The Seven existing GMO permits in Nigeria

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There are seven permits that have so far been issued to six different organisations for either the importation or cultivation of certain Genetically Modified crops in Nigeria. Out of these seven permits granted by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), six appear to strictly refer to importation, while only one permit expressly allows the cultivation of a Genetically Modified crop in Nigeria, in this case, Cowpea, popularly known as Beans.

These permits were retrieved from NBMA’s website and some of the highlights are reproduced below.

Rom Oil Mills Limited – Soy Bean

The company has a permit for the importation and use of Genetically Modified (GM) Soy Bean for Processing of Edible Oil, with a maximum import volume stated as 11382.656 Metric Tonnes (MT).

The permit is with effect from 6th August 2018 to 31st December 2021. It is also stated in the permit, that the company is authorised to import, transport, store and mill the GMOs into poultry feed.

NBMA stated in its approval document, that after a thorough analysis of the application dossier, risk mitigation and contingency options available, it is unlikely that the proposed use of the GM Soy Bean for edible oil processing would cause adverse impact on the environment, on human and animal health.

As part of the Permit Holder’s obligations, they are to ensure that all GMO materials are properly labelled in line with the provisions of the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015 and the National Biosafety Regulations 2017.

CHI Farms Limited – Soy Bean

Chi farms was granted a permit for importation of Genetically Modified (GM) Soy Bean for Poultry Feed Processing with effect from 6th August 2018 to 31st December 2021, with a maximum import value of 30,000 MT. It was also stated that the Permit is for importation, transport, storage and milling of the GMOs into poultry feed.

As part of the company’s obligations, they are to ensure that all GMO materials are properly labelled in line with the provisions of the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015 and the National Biosafety Regulations 2017. The permit also states that the GMOs “shall not be planted and shall not be allowed to grow anywhere”.

Elephant Group Plc – Soy Bean

The company has a permit for importation and use of Genetically Modified (GM) Soy Bean for Feed Processing, with effect from 26th September 2018 to 31st December 2021.

The permit which indicates a permissible import volume of 50,000 MT, authorises importation, transport, storage and milling of the GMOs into poultry feed.

As part of Elephant Group’s obligations, all GMO materials are to be properly labelled in line with the provisions of the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015 and the National Biosafety Regulations 2017.

Institute for Agricultural Research, Zaria – Cowpea (Beans)

The institute has a permit for the commercialization of genetically modified Cowpea (also known as Beans) resistant to lepidopteran insect pest (Maruca vitrata), valid from January 22, 2019 to December 31, 2022.

In arriving at its decision, NBMA stated in the permit that it was convinced that; there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use to biodiversity, taking into account risk to human health.

As part of the Institute’s obligations with this permit, they are to ensure that “planting area shall be 20 metres away from farm plots of non-GM related species.” It also gives a condition that any intended grower of this GM cowpea of up to 50 hectares shall ensure that five percent of the plot is under afforestation.

There is also a requirement for an Annual Report, which will include the following: (a) the locations where dealings on the GMOs are taking place within Nigeria,

(b) Information about any adverse impacts, unintended effects, or new information relating to risks, to human health and safety or the environment caused by the GMOs or material from the GMOs;

(c) Information about the initial volumes of the GMOs grown for commercial purpose, including seed increase operations, in each State for the first growing season in the period;

(d) Information about the volumes of the GMOs grown for non-commercial (e.g. research) purposes in each State for each growing season in the period.

Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited – Maize

Mosanto Nigeria has a permit for genetically modified Maize, which is to be used for Food, Feed and for Processing (FFP). The permit with effect from 10th April 2019 to 31st December 2022, does not authorise this GMO for cultivation purposes.

In the permit reviewed, there was no indication of the volume the company is to import (as noted in some other permits).

Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited – Soy Bean

Monsanto has a second licence for Soy Bean which is to also be used for “Food, Feed and for Processing (FFP),” with effect from 10th April 2019 to 31st December 2022. The Permit does not authorise this GMO for cultivation purposes.

Syngenta South Africa (Pty) Limited – Maize

Syngenta has a permit for genetically modified Maize to be used for Food, Feed and for Processing (FFP), which supersedes the earlier one issued to it for the same purpose. The permit is with effect from 10th April 2019 to 31st December 2022.

The permit forbids using the GMO for cultivation purposes.

 

CALEB OJEWALE

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