The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service has reiterated its commitment to ensure that the country’s agricultural produce meets international standard in line with the International Plant Protection Convention.
Dr Vincent Isegbe, Coordinating Director, NAQS, said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the inauguration of the service Institutional Biosafety Committee.
He said the service has the mandate to ascertain the health integrity of plants and animals, including fisheries either on transit or trans boundary movement.
Isegbe said: “The main objective of the service is to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of animal and zoonotic disease as well as pests of plants and fisheries including their products.
“The service also facilities trade by ensuring that our agricultural export meets international standard in line with the IPPC, World Trade Organisation/Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary.”
Isegbe said the service has a seamless working relationship with the National Biosafety Management Agency on critical issues in pursuit of national interest.
He promised that the service was ready to play its role as the first line of defence against regulated incursions and would continue to build its capacity for the changing biosafety demands.
Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director-General, NBMA, noted that the Federal Government established the agency to ensure that bio-technology were safe to the environment and human’s health.
Egbegba said: “The issue of modern biotechnology is going very dynamic; we are now talking about synthetic biology that is the use of both living and non-living organisms to modify organisms.
“We are talking about genetically modified mosquito. The African Union is pursuing that vigorously with the intentions of looking at the issues of malaria which has been causing about 80 per cent death is addressed.”
He also reiterated the commitment of the agency to the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms in the country.
The D-G said the agency was capable of regulating the release of organisms in the country and ensured that non approved organisms would be allowed into the country.
He said the agency has made it mandatory for all GMOs to be labelled to enable consumers to identify them and make their choices.
Ebegbe while inaugurating the 7-Man Committee tasked the members to play critical role and ensure that agricultural biosafety satisfied the national requirement.