Health of Mother Earth Foundation hosted a Community Dialogue on Food and Farming Systems in Nigeria on September 21, 2018, at Ugbiyoko Community in Benin City with about a hundred farmers from various communities in Edo State participating. The Dialogue provided a platform for examining the challenges facing agricultural production and the special threats posed by opening of the flood gates for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to stream into Nigeria. Discussionr were also held on the way forward for improved agricultural productivity with emphasis on agroecology and support for smallscale farmers.GMOsAgroecologyNIgeriaFoodFarmersHOMEFOrganic
Small-scale or family farmers feed the world. This is an incontrovertible fact. This fact is unfortunately often overlooked. The willful rejection of the truth that small-scale farmers feed the world has persisted because accepting the truth would compel policy makers to refocus attention where it matters rather than pumping resources into industrial farming that create ecological and socioeconomic problems, and is vastly inefficient when outputs are compared to inputs.BiosafetyfarmingpopulationGMOs
The Federal High Court of Justice, sitting in Abuja on the 15th August, struck out the Plaintiffs suit the GMO case with suit No: FHC/ABJ/C5/846/2017 due to technicalities. The Judge in delivering his judgment said that it his opinion that although the plaintiffs have a Cause of Action in this matter, however the court’s hands are tied due to one of the objections raised by the defendants - the suit is statute barred. The suit was brought a year after the permits had been issued. According to the Judge it is a contravention of the provisions of the Public Officers Act, which states that any action instituted against a public officer as regards his/her discharge of duties must be instituted within three months, after the said breach occurred. The case was struck out not for lack of merit or lack cause of action (the court did establish a Cause of Action) but because of technicalities.
It appears that in spite of the recent fracas between President Muhammadu Buhari and the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, there is one issue on which they agree-that Nigeria should adopt modern biotechnology as the solution to agricultural challenges. And they are both wrong.
Health of Mother Earth Foundation Joins the World to Mark the International Day of Biodiversity and to celebrate global efforts to preserve earth’s biodiversity as this year’s International Day of Biodiversity marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). HOMEF calls on the Convention on Biological Diversity to step up efforts to regulate new forms of genetic engineering, including gene editing, and also ensure that parties do not pay mere lip service to the Precautionary Principle when considering the entry of new technologies that have implications for biodiversity
Statement by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa: The GMO lobby is showing signs of desperation. Once again they are on the offensive with a major public relations push targeting East Africa, particularly Uganda, in an attempt to subvert African policy development towards their own narrow ends. Their immediate goal is to weaken national biosafety laws, thereby removing any barriers to their access to African markets for their contentious high-risk products. Specifically, they want to remove the ‘strict liability’ clauses and thereby avoid any responsibility; avoid having to pay compensation for any damage that they do; avoid labeling so that African people are prohibited from knowing if their food is genetically modified; and avoid any punishment that African laws can impose.
While Nigerians face uncertainties over food security due to incessant herders-farmers clashes, another threat is dawning on the nation without much notice. The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari just inaugurated a Food Security Council underscores the centrality of food security to the country. However, without food safety there cannot be food security. HOMEF reckons that the influx of GMOs into Nigeria and their formalization processes render applications for permit mere formalities.
Peasant Farming, Not Industrial Food Production.
Industrial agriculture isn’t the efficient beast it’s made out to be. Peasant farming, not industrial food production, is the way to feed the world, argue Pat Mooney and Nnimmo Bassey.
Nigeria’s National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has granted a permit for the field trial of a cassava variety made using a gene editing technology. This cassava variety has not been approved or tested in any jurisdiction in the world, according to the International Institute of Tropical agriculture (IITA), the beneficiary of this approval. HOMEF had in a 37-pages objection and with the support of eighty-seven organisations, outlined why this classic staple crop should not be toyed with by modern agricultural biotechnology merchants. Read our press statement on this dangerous biosafety gambit.
Seventeen non-governmental organizations have dragged the Federal Government before an Abuja Federal High Court, over permits issued by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for GMO Cotton and GMO Maize in Nigeria. The groups led by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) are asking the court to declare as null and void the permits granted Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited for the commercial release of BT Cotton (MON 15985). They are also asking for the revocation of the permit granted the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) for the confined field trial of NK603 and MON89034X NK 603 Maize in Nigeria.