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Smallholder women farmers reject GMO crops

Following the purported plans by the Federal Government to commence commercialisation of Genetically Modified Crops (GMO), the National President of the Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (Following the purported plans by the Federal Government to commence commercialisation of Genetically Modified Crops (GMO), the National President of the Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), Mary Afan, has pushed against the crops.
Mary Afan, has pushed against the crops.

Afan, who stated this while speaking to The Guardian at the weekend in Abuja, said farmers would prefer improved seed varieties instead of GMOs, given that the disadvantages of growing the crops are higher than the advantages.

She pointed out that initially they did not understand what GMOs were until they had a capacity building, making them to understand that they could not replant the seeds and would have to keep buying the seeds, and that they could not plant any other kind of seed on the land used GMO crops.

She said: “We don’t encourage our members to use GMO seeds because some of those seeds are not adapted to our environment. Although the seeds provide high yield but it would only make farmers to keep depending on GMO seeds. We will have to keep buying them.

“As you can see, we don’t have the strength to keep buying those seeds every year. We are used to sorting out good seeds from whatever we plant as seeds for the following season.“We are not comfortable with GMOs and we will not encourage farmers to go into such farming practice.”

She suggested agricultural research institutes could play a big role in producing improved seed varieties instead of GMOs, as the improved varieties could be planted for three generations before renewing them.

SWOFON leader added that production of GMO seeds were very costly for women farmers considering that a lot of inorganic fertiliser is needed for the production of the crop.

“This is very discouraging because too much application of chemical fertilisers can destroy farmland.“We thought chemical fertilizer was giving us high yields but have noticed that it is part of what is killing our soil. So, there is a threat to our soil through the application of inorganic fertilizer,” she said.

Source: The Guardian

 

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