(JollofNews) – Visiting Professor Dr. Paulo Pages de Andrade has urged Gambians to not succumb to fear surrounding the use of agriculture biotechnology. The Federal University of Petmambuco (UFPE) lecturer said some campaigners are spreading fear of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) without any scientific background.
The Brazilian scholar was speaking Thursday at Gambia College auditorium in Brikama, some 22 km away from Banjul. The event was organised by the American Embassy.
“Fear is used by the opposition to block development,” Professor Dr. Andrade told his audience while throwing a jab at some news organisations accused of “propelling fear-mongering.
Like many underdeveloped countries, the tiny West African nation is confronted with mounting challenges in the fight against food insecurity as Gambians remain divided over the best alternative to opt in order to boost agricultural products.
Professor Dr. Paulo Pages de Andrade, who spoke to this reporter, said biotechnology constitutes a complementary alternative.
“It is one among many technologies that are used in agriculture,” he said.
When asked why in Europe, America and Asia people are demonstrating against agriculture biotechnology accused of having disastrous consequences for the environment, for local farmers, and consumers, he said: “science has shown the opposite. Agriculture biotechnology is safe. We are all benefitting from this technology.”
Professor Dr. Andrade further stated that the consumer has greater advantage of using GMO products because the prices are cheaper.
However, the Principal of Gambia College Aboubacarr Jallow has a different opinion.
While acknowledging the fact that biotechnology can help increase the productivity and resistence of crops, he was quick to make it clear that Gambia is not yet ready to embrace GMO products.
“We must get the knowledge to be able to manage GMO crops,” he warned.
He expressed the need to capacitise Gambian agricultural base before descending into “this modern form of agriculture.”
Jallow said Gambians must listen to the voice of campaigners and then dded that communities stood up in India and Brazil because they were affected by GMOs.
“As people in the social justice movement, campaigners have to make their voice heard.”