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Nigerian textile industry backs GM cotton to create jobs
06
Apr '16
The Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA) has said that it approves the introduction of genetically modified cotton into the country.

In a statement, its acting Director-General, Hamma Kwajaffa, said a timely introduction of GM cotton, especially the Bt cotton variety, which has high resistance to pests, is capable of repositioning Nigeria's moribund textile industry.

“We view the recent submission of an application for the environmental release and placing in market of Genetically Modified insect protected (Bt) Cotton that can play an immense role in restoring attraction to cotton farming as well as reviving and repositioning the textile sector as a welcome development capable of reviving the entire industry,” Kwajaffa said.

NTMA's statement came on the heels of several rights groups and faith-based organisations opposed an attempt by American agrochemical giant Mosanto to obtain approval for environmental introduction and commercial production of genetically modified cotton and maize from the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

The groups opposed to GM cotton believe that any introduction of such products portends grave consequences for the health and environmental safety of Nigerians.

The groups also argued that the climate in Africa is not conducive for genetically modified cotton and any attempt to introduce it would fail.
But NTMA insists the introduction of GM cotton will not harm the environment and will benefit farmers and improve textile quality in the country.

“This protection is expected to improve cotton lint quality and farmers will benefit increase yields due to reduced insect-pest damage,” the statement said.

NTMA claims more than 500,000 Nigerians would be employed in the textile industry when GM cotton is finally released into the market. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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