Nigeria’s news headlines are awash with stories of Mosanto bringing genetically modified, GM, cotton seeds to Nigeria. It is commendable that the media community is joining its voice alongside that of local activists and non-governmental organisations, NGOs, to block Mosanto and its GM cotton seeds out of Nigeria.
Nigeria does not need GM seeds of any kind. Nigeria’s soil condition across different regions are perfectly fit for organic seeds.
However, the climate that gave Mosanto and its boardroom the idea that Nigeria is a fertile ground or market for its GM cotton seeds is Nigeria’s thoughtlessness with the agricultural sector. While the last administration was touted for its supposed laudable achievement in developing the sector, there are fundamental problems haunting the sector. The current government is making matters worse by not coming up with its policies and solutions to the ailing sector.
In the first place, Nigeria does not need GM seeds of any kind. Nigeria’s soil condition across different regions are perfectly fit for organic seeds. What Nigeria farmers need is a concrete, simplified and implementable agricultural policy that makes every stage of the value chain works.
A critical challenge facing Nigerian farmers is the finance and protection policies that make agriculture unattractive to intending investors in the sector. From small hold farms to the large scale, there is no definitive all-in-one policy that allows qualified farmers to access low-in loans and insurance policies. The bureaucratic system and informal cabals make the process inaccessible to small and medium scale farmers.
Nigeria does not need increase in yield or GM seeds across all crop classes. Nigeria needs its farms to function optimally and newer farms developed. Apart from the ‘cancer narrative’ that pervaded the criticisms of Mosanto’s GM seeds, the main issue is for Nigeria to get its acts together and work with its farmers. If the right thing is done, Mosanto would not be taken seriously by busy farmers.
Image Source: activistpost.com