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Geneticist tasks government on genetically modified foods



A geneticist, Prof. Benjamin Oluwole Akinyele of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), has  called on the government to regulate all genetically modified foods on sale, to ensure that they meet safety requirements in line with natural foods.

Akinyele, who teaches at the Department of Crop, Soil and Pest Management, Federal Univerisity of Technology Akure (FUTA), stated this in his inaugural lecture delivered on Tuesday in Akure.

The lecture, which marks 110th of the University and 9th of the department, was titled: “Plant Genetics for Nutrition and Food Security”.

The Don stated that the regulation would allay the fears of the public, with respect to the potential effects of the engineered food on human health and the environment.

According to him, government should evolve a policy that will mandate every viable food processing and manufacturing industry in the country to establish a collaborative relationship with, at least, a research institute with a view to developing and marketing research products.

He also called on governments at all levels, to invest in agricultural research that focused on increased production of food crops and improvements on their quality; as doing so would boost the nation’s economy and ensure food security.

“As human population increases by the day, the need to focus on these research areas should also increase by the day, so that people might have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food.

“My various contributions to knowledge, through these research endeavours, if properly harnessed,will not only enhance food security, but will boost the nation’s economy, create employment, reduce the level of poverty and improve nutrition and health,” he said.

Akinyele also enjoined government to endeavour to boost the morale of plant geneticists and breeders by rewarding them adequately in terms of salaries and other legitimate financial and material entitlements.

He noted that there was much need to strengthen the capacity of each university and research institute to do quality research that would face-lift the fortune of the nation.

“So, government should earmark a substantial proportion of the tertiary education needs assessment funds for the provision of standard laboratories with state of the art equipment to enable these institutions engage in productive research.

“Plant geneticists and breeders should be motivated to attend conferences, workshops and seminars that are relevant to their research as exposure to modern trends in their areas of specialisation for greater productive research,” he stated.