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NTMA backs Monsanto's Bt Cotton for Nigerian farmers
01
Apr '16
The Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA) has thrown its weight behind American agro-chemical giant Monsanto and has urged the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for the consideration of environmental release and commercialization of genetically modified and pest-resistant Bt Cotton for Nigerian farmers.

Acting Director General of the Association, Hamma Kwajaffa said in a statement that while the Nigerian textile industry was a strategic non-oil sector and the largest after oil and agriculture, it was also the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the statement, Nigeria is blessed with abundant raw materials, especially cotton and polyester chips (petrochemical) and the cotton industry had a high potential for added value generation from raw material to finished goods and is a major employer of urban and rural populations.

“It is estimated that about 30,000 Nigerians are employed in the textile industry and an additional one million small farmers and labourers are both in direct cotton production and within the value chain, probably supporting five million more people. This is a sharp contrast from over 400,000 people employed across over 250 textile mills in the country in the 80s,” the statement said.

The Association commended the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogonnaya Onu who recently said that the government was interested in utilizing the potential of Bt Cotton to revive the industry.

Applauding government's establishment of the NBMA to address issues of human health as well as environmental safety concerns, the Association advised the agency “to engage the farmers in high level education as the whole GMO farming emanates from educated farmers like in the US, India, Brazil, Greece, Argentina, etc.”

It added that the recent application by Monsanto for the environmental release and commercialization of genetically modified Bt Cotton could play an immense role in making cotton farming attractive “as well as reviving and repositioning the textile sector.”

The NTMA also said that the scientific review process of the product by regulatory agencies and independent experts that the application was currently undergoing would ascertain the safety to human and animal health as well as the environment. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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