|Photo Credit: Kolawole Rauf|
Many controversies have been going on as to which type
of food we should eat. Consumers are clamouring for safe food with no health
risk and that its production should be environmentally friendly. Should it be
food that is genetically modified or hybrid or of heirloom origin? Is Hybrid GMOs and vice versa? Are breakthroughs
in biotechnology evil?
and foremost, it is important to explain the difference among GMOs, Hybrids and
Heirlooms. Heirloom is defined as the first generation seeds that are
organic. They are save to eat but with low productivity. E.g. you get 2,000 kg
tomatoes on 1 hectare. Moreover, shapes of fruits are uniform, preservation is
poor, etc. One can save the seeds from fruits and plant it again.
hybrids are as a result of Cross breeding of heirlooms to achieve a better
variety. For example, you cross a tomato plant that has high preservation with
one that is sweet and another that has oval shape. So, you get like 60,000 kg
of fruits per hectare, sweet fruits, more disease resistance, uniform fruit
shape that is attractive. Note that it takes trial and error to achieve a good
hybrid variety and it takes more generations which is time consuming but
technology has made it possible to achieve it with less stress and in very
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms (plants or
animals) are made in laboratory by cloning. GMOs contain one or more genes from
an entirely different species and are genetically altered using molecular
genetics such as gene cloning and protein engineering. For example, one can
decide to make an orange seed with insulin so that patients who need insulin can
eat it without taking insulin tablets any more. More GMOs has high productivity.
Another example of a GMO is a field crop such as corn that has pesticide engineered
into its genetic makeup to make it resistant to certain pests. But it is a natural
pesticide which will never find its way naturally into corn seed. GMO seed
varieties retain their original characteristics if saved and replanted, but
because GMO seeds are patented by the companies producing them, intellectual
property rights restrict using saved seed the next season.
During Global Agropreneur Forum, Gig asked “How can we really know if
a variety is hybrid or GM. Some say hybrid is GM, others say no. Dangote has
started tomato hybrid seed farming in Kano and all demons in hell were loosed
among farmers saying he's bringing cancer and auto immune diseases to Nigeria”
Should a nation continue the low yielding heirloom which is safe but makes
farmers to call Government to subsidize because breakeven is difficult?
“One misconception that I have seen is that folks think that hybrids are
genetically modified organisms. This isn’t true; they are developed from
many generations of natural breeding that is directed by human hands. The fact
of the matter is that there are currently no genetically modified seeds or
plants available to the general public. Genetically modified organisms are
developed through direct genetic modification in a lab, usually using DNA
insertion or deletion. Currently, you will only find these seeds in
commodity crops, such as field corn, soy, cotton, etc.” Alade submitted.
one of the biggest seed companies which basically sell GM seeds to farmers are
the propagators and patent and right owners of the GMO 'abracadabra'....the issue
has been and still a very controversial issue all over the world and the scary
part; there is most if not all seed companies (except Monsanto) are very much
afraid to buy into the idea. Many are publicly letting the public know they don’t
sell GMO seeds and have taken the time to draw out discussions and awareness of
the difference between the hybrid seeds and the GMO so local farmers don't get
brainwashed, advised discussant.
Furthermore, Gig put forward his submission about GMOs.
“Though GMO is not hybrid in my
opinion. Since cross pollination are done with high-tech in a short period
these days, how well can we trust seed producers that they aren't giving out GM
seeds instead of Hybrid. Secondly, GM has advantages too in my opinion. It's not
100 percent evil”.
have been lots of concerns voiced by environmental groups and consumer
advocates regarding "GMOs. It is hoped that gardeners and consumers take a
responsible approach and search out the facts on this confusing and
controversial topic. In another observation, most tomatoes sold in ‘Mile 12’
Lagos brought from the Northern Nigeria are assumed to be hybrid. Hard skin that stands
long distance travelling, very low water content, high disease resistance,
fruits could be eaten raw or processed as Paste, Ketchup, etc. In comparison
with the seeds planted in Southwest, Nigeria. The fruits aren't uniform, you see some
big, some small. Friends, I ask myself daily, are these fruits from the north
really hybrid or GM?"
there are have been no reported cases of bad incidence from consumption of GMO Products. I
think both hybrids and GMOs are still the best options for farmers. But
everyone has a choice to go for anyone. But one thing I know for sure, people
that are against this new development have consumed GM products unknown to
them. Let’s take Soybean for example, this crop is one of the most researched
crops and has many industrial applications. It is used in the production of Soymilk, Animal feeds, Beverages (Milo, Bournvita, Powder milk, etc.) and many
other important products. 90% of Soybeans in America are genetically modified.
Many of their finished products are found in Nigeria Market. So what are we now saying" observed Ayodele.
tomatoes when fresh are sweet. Right? The taste makes me justify it as hybrid
and not GM. Frankly speaking, GM is not 100 percent evil. All is about
politics, business and power. GM makers should be honest enough to say this is
GM and use it like this. It's like medications for health. Most Drugs are
produced in labs. First generation vaccines are made from the bacteria, virus,
fungi etc after which producers start cloning it. But in my own opinion, when
Monsanto brought out GM, competitors were scared of the breakthrough and
launched out their attack. The right thing for Monsanto is to label GM fruits but
it is going be real loss and the company might crash because the attack was
successful. In my own opinion, Monsanto and other GM makers might not want to
tell you that GM is mixed with hybrid. How can you differentiate?'
So, you can
imagine when two different antibiotics are mixed together and you think it's
Health issues...... Brothers,
there might be GM products in Nigeria. That's why we are beginning to record
cancer cases here too. It's getting here. And if GM products are not labelled
to give usage directives, road to six feet below gets nearer daily” opined ‘Gig’.
takes investigative journalism found in books and articles like ‘Seeds of
Deception’ exposing industry and Government lies about the safety of the GM
foods.” Femi submitted.
another reaction by Alade, “What GM set out to achieve is only speeding up
unnecessarily a process nature already has in place and it’s not for anything
but financial gain”.
Monsanto hadn’t come up with bio-tech, we will still rely on heirlooms but the
major thing consumers want is that they should make their product public, i.e.
all GM products should be labelled GM.
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