Despite opposition by some civic groups, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, said it is to carry out confined field trials, CFT, on genetically modified cassava.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, the Institute said it had received permission to carry out the research in collaboration with ETHZ Plant Biotechnology Laboratory in Zurich.
It said CFT permit was issued by the National Biosafety Management Agency in accordance with the National Biosafety Agency Act 2015 and is for the period September 22, 2017 to December 31, 2018.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how an anti-GMO coalition in Nigeria condemned the permit issues by the biosafety agency saying it is harmful on the country’s food security.
“Among our concerns is the fact that the genetic engineering technique used by IITA and ETZ to product this cassava has never been approved anywhere else in the world. This effectively makes Nigeria a testing field for risky, unregulated technologies,” the opposing groups said.
The Institute, however, said the exercise was aimed at reducing starch breakdown in storage roots of cassava after pruning the shoots, prior to harvest of the crop. Read more