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Food consumer perception of genetically modified foods in Enugu metropolis, Nigeria

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Genetically modified foods (GMFs) yields have continued to grow geometrically annually, thereby encouraging their planting worldwide, in spite of the persistent health and environmental controversies on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and GMFs. About 60% to 70% of consumable processed food contain GM ingredients in industrialized countries. Some have crept into Nigeria through food aids and imports. This study assessed perception of food consumers on GMFs in Enugu, Nigeria. Structured questionnaire were employed to elicit information from respondents. The results showed that 33.3% respondents had positive attitude to GMFs, 28.3% had negative attitude, 26.7% were uncertain, and 11.7% were indifferent. Respondents (58.3%) would buy and/or eat GMFs, while 41.7% would not. About 38.3% of the respondents would eat and/or buy GMFs for nutritional benefits, 3.3% for their desire for new things, and 16.6% for better taste and better looks. About 55% of the respondents thought GMFs could cause damage health, 31.7% of they would not, and 13.3% of the respondents were not sure. About 65% of the respondents believed GMFs were artificial, 23.3% thought otherwise, and 11.7% had no view. About 61.7% of the respondents thought Nigeria should legalize the importation and production of GMFs, while the rest (38.3%) thought Nigeria should not legalize the importation and production of GMFs. About 61.7% of the respondents thought Nigeria should legalize the importation and production of GMFs, while 38.3% disagreed. GMFs were of good interest to 41.7% of respondents, 21.7% of the respondents were fairly interested in GMFs, 15% were neutral, and another 21.7% were indifferent. This study recommended an awareness campaign that will provide information on the benefits and the possible risks inherent in GMFs to consumers. Seminars, workshops and conferences should be conducted to keep scientists and at large all stakeholders abreast of the developments in the field of biotechnology.
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Food consumer perception of genetically modified foods in
Enugu metropolis, Nigeria
O.C. Eneh
*1
, Chineme A. Eneh
2
, S.N. Chiemela
2
1
Institute for Development Studies, Enugu Campus, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
2
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
*
Author for correspondence, Mobile: 234-803-338-7472
Email: onyenekenwa.eneh@unn.edu.ng
ABSTRACT
Genetically modified foods (GMFs) yields have continued to grow geometrically annually,
thereby encouraging their planting worldwide, in spite of the persistent health and
environmental controversies on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and GMFs. About
60% to 70% of consumable processed food contain GM ingredients in industrialized
countries. Some have crept into Nigeria through food aids and imports. This study assessed
perception of food consumers on GMFs in Enugu, Nigeria. Structured questionnaire were
employed to elicit information from respondents. The results showed that 33.3%
respondents had positive attitude to GMFs, 28.3% had negative attitude, 26.7% were
uncertain, and 11.7% were indifferent. Respondents (58.3%) would buy and/or eat GMFs,
while 41.7% would not. About 38.3% of the respondents would eat and/or buy GMFs for
nutritional benefits, 3.3% for their desire for new things, and 16.6% for better taste and
better looks. About 55% of the respondents thought GMFs could cause damage health,
31.7% of they would not, and 13.3% of the respondents were not sure. About 65% of the
respondents believed GMFs were artificial, 23.3% thought otherwise, and 11.7% had no
view. About 61.7% of the respondents thought Nigeria should legalize the importation and
production of GMFs, while the rest (38.3%) thought Nigeria should not legalize the
importation and production of GMFs. About 61.7% of the respondents thought Nigeria
should legalize the importation and production of GMFs, while 38.3% disagreed. GMFs
were of good interest to 41.7% of respondents, 21.7% of the respondents were fairly
interested in GMFs, 15% were neutral, and another 21.7% were indifferent. This study
recommended an awareness campaign that will provide information on the benefits and the
possible risks inherent in GMFs to consumers. Seminars, workshops and conferences
should be conducted to keep scientists and at large all stakeholders abreast of the
developments in the field of biotechnology.
Keywords: Genetically modified foods, Consumer perception, Enugu, Nigeria
INTRODUCTION
Despite widespread acceptance of biotechnology at the farm level in some developed
countries, consumer acceptance of its modified products has remained uncertain (Lusk &
Sullivan, 2002). For instance, whereas America with 59 per cent of global sowings has the
largest share of total land under for genetically modified organism (GMO) production,
possibly, due to farm level acceptance, have rather via research studies shown, that, many
of her (American) consumers are either supportive of, or, neutral toward genetically
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modified foods (GMFs) (Marks, Kalaitzandonakes & Zakharova, 2002). Hence, while
farmers continue to adopt GM crops on a broad scale, it is also becoming clearer that the
ultimate success or failure of agricultural biotechnology will necessarily be influenced by
public perception, awareness and opinion (Hallman, Cuite, Morin, 2013).
Consequently, this research on consumers perception (knowledge, discourse
optimism and attitudes) towards GMFs will be beneficial to the Nigerian government, not
only in terms of attitudes’ towards GMCs/GMFs, but also with respect to the technology
itself; the development community, policy-makers, scientists, farmers and non-
governmental organizations in developing relevant policy and institutional frameworks, and
necessary reforms to create an enabling environment for GMOs/GMFs; the wider socio-
political context, donors, on how a holistic programme in its entirety can, if necessary, be
conceived, steered and managed in context to GMF industrialization.
Today, GM foods are common, especially in the United States (Rauch, 2005). In
many parts of the world, farmers have embraced genetically modified crops so
enthusiastically that the global area of genetically modified crops has increased 30-folds in
six years (Environmental News Network, 2002). Only five countries have legally and
structurally embraced and introduced genetically modified crops, they include Argentina,
Brazil, Canada, China and the United States (International Food Policy Research Institute
(IFPRI), 2006).
Before the oil boom, Nigeria was generating foreign exchange from crops like
cocoa, kola, groundnut etc. and farming was a factor part of productivity in the country.
The oil boom saw agriculture decline over the years, leaving every citizen to depend on
annual budget based on oil sales and depending on day-to-day expenditure based on the
parallel market (Omenazu, 2005). Presently, Nigerian agriculture is facing the growing
encroachment of urbanization, industrial expansion, and an expanding transport
infrastructure. Deforestation and cultivation in fragile ecosystems is also leading to soil
degradation (Oluwatuyi, 2004). Consequent upon these challenges on agriculture, Nigeria
imports a lot of things especially food from other countries (Olaniyan, Bakare &
Morenikeji, 2007).
An investigation carried out by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth
Nigeria (2003) on the potential presence of GM ingredients in Nigeria has found food aid
as one of the potential channels. Nigeria is in principle not a food aid recipient, but
continues to receive rice from the United States as food aid. In 2003, Nigeria received
11,000.6 metric tones of soy meal as food aid from the US Food for Progress programme
(Watch GM, 2005). Taking into account that over 80% of soy beans in the US are
genetically modified, it is therefore likely that Nigeria has been receiving GMFs without
prior information to the government and the people. Another source of potential
introduction of GMF is through commercial imports of food containing ingredients from
corn and soy. It has been reported that China may released genetically modified rice into
the market in 2006 (Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, 2005). With
the bulk of rice consumed in Nigeria coming from Asia, it is a matter of time before
genetically modified rice from China floods Nigerian markets (Olaniyan, Bakare &
Morenikeji, 2007).
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria is
making efforts to prevent the outbreak of virulent Cassava Mosaic Disease in Nigeria,
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which could lead to food shortages in the country (Dixon, 2006). GM cassava was created
at the Donald Danforth Centre in St. Louis, United States and sent to Nigeria for
experimentation through IITA (Environmental Rights Actions/Friends of the Earth Nigeria,
2006). However, the application to test the GM cassava was withdrawn by IITA due to its
failure to achieve the required resistance to cassava mosaic disease (Watch GM, 2005).
The genetic modification of foods makes excellent economic sense for the major
agribusiness and food corporations and has been strongly backed by them. Some of the
biggest names in the food business openly use genetically modified components, while
others will not disclose whether they use them or not. Such companies include Arnotts,
Cadburys, Coca-cola, Coles and Woolworths’ house brands, Golden Circle and Nestle
(Peter, 2003).
Already, Nigeria has drafted a biosafety law allowing the use of GMF technology,
which the National legislature is yet to approve (Environmental Rights Actions/Friends of
the Earth Nigeria, 2006). The country also does not have any policy on the importation of
GMF, unlike some African nations such as Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho and Zambia,
which have banned the import of GMFs. Also, multinational biotech companies like
Syngenta, Monsanto and DuPont have all shown interest in investing in Nigeria. This
sounds like a brilliant idea but these big biotech multinationals companies who are in
control of the world food supply ways have hidden agendas; they own patent of some GMO
and concerns are that the local biotech companies will be driven out of the market
(Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 2014).
LITERATURE REVIEW
According to the Business Dictionary, perception is the process by which people translate
sensory impressions into a coherent and unified view of the world around them. Though
necessarily based on incomplete and unverified (or unreliable) information, perception is
equated with reality for most practical purposes and guides human behavior in general.
Genetically modified foods (GMFs) are most commonly used to refer to crop plants created
for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques (Taire,
2003). These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as
increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. The enhancement of
desired traits has traditionally been undertaken through breeding, but conventional plant
breeding methods can be very time consuming and are often not very accurate. Genetic
engineering, on the other hand, can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly
with great accuracy (Whitman, 2000). Genetically modified products include medicines and
vaccines, foods and food ingredients, feeds and fibres (Olaniyan, Bakare & Morenikeji,
2007). Genetic engineering technology has revolutionary potential in agriculture, for it
allows one to design a plant to one’s desire. In this way, it may seem entirely different from
previously existing agricultural technologies. However, this is not quite true, for humans
have practiced selective breeding for thousands of years (Fernandez-Cornejo & McBride,
2002). One aspect of genetic engineering which has been used for centuries is the selective
breeding of crop plants and farm animals to produce improved food (Okonko, Olabode &
Okeleji, 2006). Clearly, genetic engineering is merely a refined version of selective
breeding, just another step in the long tradition of improvements in agriculture. The only
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real difference between the two methods is the possibility in genetic engineering of mixing
genes between species (Webber, 2002).
Genetic engineering offers a way to quickly improve crop characteristics such as
yield, resistance or herbicide tolerance to a degree not often possible with traditional
methods (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2006). GMFs can be
manipulated to produce completely artificial substances, from the precursors to plastics to
consumable vaccines. They are developed and marketed because there are some perceived
advantages either to the producer or consumer of these foods (World Health Organization,
WHO, 2005). However, the production of GMF raises the possibility of human health,
environmental and economic problems, including unanticipated allergic responses to novel
substances in foods, the spread of pest resistance or herbicide tolerance to wild plants,
inadvertent toxicity to benign wildlife, and increasing control of agriculture by
biotechnology corporations (Olaniyan et al, 2007).
Genetic modification can be defined as a set of technologies that alter the genetic
make-up of living organisms such as animals, plants or bacteria (Neil, Lawrence & Reece,
2000). Although ‘biotechnology’ and ‘genetic modification’ are commonly used
interchangeably, biotechnology is a more general term, which refers to using living
organisms or their components such as enzymes, to make products that include wine,
cheese, beer and yougurt (Griffiths, 2002). The aim of genetic modification is “to isolate
single genes of known functions from one organism and transfer copies to a new host (in
this case plant or food crops) to introduce desirable characteristics” (Jarvis & Hickford,
1999). The increased power of genetic breeding over selective breeding allows a large
number of applications, some of which are still in development (Hammer, 2003).
One of the common uses of genetic engineering is to introduce herbicide resistance
into plants. Another is in making plants hardier or more productive; in particular, one can
insert disease resistance or the ability to grow in harsh environments (Altieri & Rosset,
1999). A third use is in the modification of crops so that their produce lasts longer on the
shelf (Brown, 1998).
DNA is extracted from an organism and a specific gene isolated through the use of
restriction endonucleases, which cut DNA at specific points (Davies & Ollier, 2001). The
resulting food produced through the process of genetic modification is said to be
“genetically modified”, “genetically engineered” or “transgenic” (Griffiths, 2002). The
process of genetic modification is known by many names such as gene manipulation, gene
splicing, etc. There are basically two methods of genetic modification which are the
traditional breeding, and recombinant DNA technology methods (Olaniyan et al, 2007).
The traditional breeding method has been used for many years to improve food
supply since the first cultivation of crops such as wheat and barley in Mesopotamia in
6,000 BC and the domestication of animals such as sheep and goats in southwestern Asia
over 10,000 years ago (Bernstein, Bernstein, Bucchini, Goldman, Hamilton & Lehrer,
2003). More recently, improvement of food supply through genetic manipulation by
breeding was accelerated through the development of hybrid crop varieties in the 1960s and
1970s (Fernandez-Cornejo & McBride, 2002). Selective plant breeding, one of the
traditional breeding methods was seen as a practice of chance selection rather than
scientific application of principles (Truman, Paul, James, Kuntz & Edward, 1958). The
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plant breeder has several purposes for producing new strains or varieties of plants
(Headstrom, 1954).
One of the key objectives is the production of more desirable varieties. Such plant
characteristics as large fruit, large and abundant seeds, vigorous growth, early maturation of
fruit, large leaf area in leafy vegetables and vigorous root growth in root crops are highly
profitable (Truman, Paul, James, Kuntz, Edward, 1958). By means of hybridization,
different kinds of plants have been developed. Many fresh fruits and vegetables have long
been produced through breeding from parent stock of differing background by genetically
altering them (Webber, 2002).
The traditional breeding method has been used for many domesticated animal
species that are food sources (Bernstein et al, 2003). A good example is chicken, which was
one of the more expensive meats in the 1940s, and now one of the least expensive sources
of meat (Metcalfe, 2003). However, the traditional method of breeding plants and animals
may take several generations to obtain results and bad results may occur at least as often as
good ones (Hammer, 2003).
Recombinant DNA method involves the introduction of DNA into cells where they
are expressed in form of proteins. In most cases, only minute amounts of DNA is needed to
be introduced to obtain the desired trait in the foods (Bernstein et al., 2003). A range of
techniques is used for transferring an isolated gene into the host, which in this case could be
a plant or animal (Jarvis & Hickford, 1999). These techniques include bacterial carriers,
microinjection, biolistics, calcium phosphate precipitation, gene silencing and gene
splicing, lipofection, vectors and protoplast transformation among others (Olaniyan et al,
2007). Oladele and Subair (2009) reported that university lecturers in Nigeria and
Botswana perceived GMFs favourably. Zhong, Marchant, Ding and Lu (2002) reported that
Chinese food consumers were aware of and had potential positive attitude to GMFs in
Nanjing. Union of Concerned Scientists (2006) reported that GMFs are allowed on the
market in the United States of America.
METHODOLOGY
The study area, Enugu, has been described in an earlier report (Eneh, Eneh and Chiemela,
2016). The method for data collection used in the said report was also adopted in this study,
with contents altered as relevant to the study objectives, which were addressed from the
data using simple descriptive statistics such as frequency, tables and percentage
distribution.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Socio-economic characteristics of respondents
Tables 1-7 show the socio-economic characteristics of respondents. From Table 1, a
majority of respondents were females (60%), while the rest (40%) were males.
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Table 1: Distribution of respondents by gender
Gender Frequency %
Males 24 40
Females 36 60
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
The distribution of respondents by age is displayed on Table 2. The mode age bracket was
30-44 years (46.7%) for 28 respondents.
Table 2: Age distribution of respondents
Age bracket Frequency %
15-29 12 20
30-44 28 46.7
45-59 11 18.3
60 and above 9 15
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
This showed that shoppers were mostly aged between 30 and 44 years. This was followed
by 15-29 age bracket (20%) for 12 respondents, showing that youths were involved in
shopping in Enugu city. Shoppers decreased in number with increasing age. Thus, shoppers
aged 30-44 were 28, those aged 45-59 were 11, and those aged 60 years and above were
only 9. Table 3 reveals that 40% of respondents were single, 58.3% were married, and 1.7%
were widowed. Shoppers were mostly married (58.3%). Singles constituted 40%. Only one
(1.7%) of respondents was widowed.
Table 3: Distribution of respondents by marital status
Marital Status
Frequency %
Single 24 40
Married 35 58.3
Widowed 1 1.7
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
From Table 4, 6.7% of respondents stopped at primary education level, 31.7 % had
secondary education, 58.3% had tertiary education, and 3.3% had no formal education.
Thus, most respondents had the benefit of tertiary education. This may be attributed to the
presence of many tertiary institutions of learning in Enugu State.
Department stores, where items are labelled and price-tagged, seem to belong to the
learned, who can read and write. Often, to shop with pre-written list of needs. Therefore,
one expects them to be knowledgeable of GMFs.
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Table 4: Distribution of respondents by highest level of education
Highest level of
education Frequency %
Primary Education 4 6.7
Secondary Education 19 31.7
Tertiary Education 35 58.3
No formal Education 2 3.3
Total 60 100.0
Source: Field survey, 2015
The distribution of respondents by income is displayed on Table 5. Thirty-one (31)
respondents or 51.7% belonged to N111,000 and above income bracket, followed closely
by 27 respondents (45%) for N101,000-110,000 or ($500-$550) income bracket. The
propensity to patronise shops increased with income bracket. The income bracket of
N101,000-110,000 is equivalent to Directors take-home pay in government ministries,
departments and agencies (MDAs). This shows that shoppers belong to the high-income
group (HIG) of the society.
Ordinarily, the poor do not go shopping in department stores, except to beg for alms
or run an errand for the rich or seek pilfering opportunities. Eneh (2005) reported that, of 10
households with 4 members each, 7 or 70% live below poverty line on a paltry sum of
N676.00 ($3) in a month, while the remaining 4 are extremely poor with N383.00 ($1.5) to
live on in a month.
Table 5: Distribution of respondents by monthly income
Income bracket Frequency %
Less N50,000 0 0
51,000-100,000 2 3.3
101,000-110,000 27 45
111,000 and above 31 51.7
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
From Table 6, 33.3% of the respondents were civil servants, while 66.7% were engaged in
business/self-employment. No respondent was a farmer. The smaller fraction for civil
servants that shop in department stores must belong to the high-income bracket of public
service. This corroborates the finding on income bracket of shoppers. That MDAs staff
pattern is usually bottom-heavy also points to internal validity of this finding.
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Table 6: Distribution of respondents by occupation
Occupation Frequency %
Civil servant 20 33.4
Business/Self-employment 40 66.7
Farmer 0 0
Total 60 100
Source: Field survey, 2015
From Table 7, 50% of the respondents were of household size of 3-5, others were 6-9
(40%), 10-13 (5%) and 14 and above (5%). National Bureau of Statistics, Federal Ministry
of Agriculture and Rural Development and World Bank (2012) report that average Nigerian
household sizes are 5.9 and 4.9 persons in rural and urban areas respectively. The finding
on urban household size (3-5 persons) falls within literature value (4.9 persons).
Table 7: Distribution of the respondents by household size
Household Size Frequency %
3-5 30 50
6-9 24 40
10-13 3 5
14 and Above 3 5
Total 60 100
Source: Field survey, 2015
Attitudes to GMFs
Attitude to GMFs can significantly influence consumer choice (Costa-Font, Gil, Trail,
2008). Table 8 reveals that 33.3% of the respondents had positive attitude to GMFs, about a
quarter (28.3%) had a negative attitude, 26.7% were uncertain, while 11.7% were
indifferent to GMFs. These findings agreed with the report of Al-Khayri and Hassan (2012)
that Saudi consumers had favourable attitude to GMFs. Medical and Dental Science
students of University of Lagos fared differently as overall attitude revealed that, majority
(83.6%) of the respondents had negative attitude towards GM products, while about one-
sixth (16.4%) had positive attitude (were favourably disposed) towards GM products
(Ebuehi & Ailohi, 2012). Similarly, Oladele and Subair (2009) reported that university
lecturers in Nigeria and Botswana perceived GMFs favourably.
Table 8: Attitudes to GMFs
Attitudes to GMFs Frequency %
Positive 20 33.3
Negative 17 28.3
Not Sure 16 26.7
Indifferent 7 11.7
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
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Willingness to eat and/or buy GMFs
From Table 9, 58.3% of respondents would buy and/or eat GMFs, while 41.7% would not.
The gap between 58.3% and 41.7% is narrow. Notions in some quarters is that GMFs
and/or their production processes and procedures are not 100% safe. The 58% finding
compare with the 48% willing to buy/eat GMFs among Saudi consumers (Al-Khayri and
Hassan, 2012). Among Dental and Medical students’ in the study by Ebuehi & Ailohi
(2012), only 4.9% of respondents would buy GMFs if the prices of traditional and GM
foods were the same; whereas 33% would buy anyone or indifferent to this question. Again,
the report by Al-jebreen (2010) on Riyadh University Students’ perceptions and attitudes
towards products derived from genetically modified crops shows positive willing-to-buy
for 42% whereas 34.8% will not buy/eat genetically modified foods or products. Zhong,
Marchant, Ding and Lu (2002) reported that Chinese food consumers were aware of and
had potential positive attitude to GMFs in Nanjing.
Table 9: Willingness to eat and/or buy GMFs
Eat and/or buy GMFs Frequency %
Yes 35 58.3
No 25 41.7
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Reasons for eating and/or buying GMFs
From Table 10, 38.3% of the respondents would eat and/or buy GMFs for nutritional
benefits, 3.3% for their desire for new things, 16.6% for better taste and better looks.
Ebuehi & Ailohi (2012) found that (75.6%) of students were willing to buy GMFs for
improved nutritional characteristics, a slightly more than half (54.7%) were willing to buy
for improved organoleptic characteristics, about two-thirds (64.6%) were willing to buy for
longer shelf life, and almost half (47.2%) of respondents were willing to buy GMFs for
lower risk of pesticide poison.
Table 10: Reasons for eating and/or buying GMFs
Degree of responses
Frequency %
Nutritional benefits 23 38.3
Imported from U.S 0 0
Like new things 2 3.3
Look or taste better 10 16.7
Lower price 0 0
Unsure reasons 0 0
Total 35 58.3
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Perception on GMFs enhancement of nutritional value
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From Table 11, a significant proportion of the respondents (75%) thought GMFs enhanced
nutritional value, 11.7% thought GMFs did not enhance nutritional value, and 13.3% were
unsure. The 75% finding was inconsistent with the report of Ebuehi & Ailohi (2012) on
43.3% of University students believing that GMFs have more quality nutrients and better
health benefits compared with non-GMFs, thus showing their skeptism for GMFs. The
discrepancy could be attributed to the medical students probably being more informed
about health benefits of GMFs than ordinary citizens. This explanation seems to be
supported by the finding of Oladele and Subair (2009) that university lecturers in Nigeria
and Botswana (enlightened community) perceived GMFs favourably.
Table 11: Perception on GMFs enhancement of nutritional value
Degree of responses Frequency %
Yes 45 75
No 7 11.7
Not Sure 8 13.3
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Perception on GMFs causing health damage
Table 12 shows that 55% of respondents believed that GMFs could cause health damage,
31.7% believed otherwise, and 13.3% were not sure. That majority (55%) believed that
GMFs could cause health damage might be attributed to skepticism vis-à-vis awareness
GMFs or ignorance about the relatively new GMFs compared with non-GMFs. The finding
compared well with 58.9% reported by Ebuehi & Ailohi (2012). Ten percent (10%) of
respondents disagreed.
Table 12: Perception on GMFs causing health damage
Degree of responses
Frequency %
Yes 33 55
No 19 31.7
Not Sure 8 13.3
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Perception of GMFs as artificial
According to Table 13, 65% of the respondents believed GMFs were artificial, 23.3%
thought otherwise, and 11.7% had no view. Again, this might be attributed to ignorance
about the relatively new GMFs compared with non-GMFs.
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Table 13: Perception of GMFs as artificial
Degree of responses
Frequency %
Yes 39 65
No 14 23.3
Not Sure 7 11.7
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Opinions on legalising GMFs production and importation in Nigeria
Table 14 reveals that 61.7% of respondents thought Nigeria should legalize the importation
and production of GMFs, while the rest (38.3%) thought Nigeria should not. Knowledge
and awareness about GMFs seems to play out here. Union of Concerned Scientists (2006)
reported that GMFs are allowed on the market in the United States of America.
Table 14: Opinions on legalising GMFs production and importation in Nigeria
Degree of responses
Frequency %
Yes 37 61.7
No 23 38.3
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Reasons for not supporting legalization of production and importation of GMFs in
Nigeria
Table 15 reveals why the 23 (38.3%) respondents in Table 14 think Nigeria should not
legalize the importation and production of GMFs. About 31.7% in this ‘no’ group fear the
risk in regulation and handling (in the Nigerian context), 5% fear the risk in law and order
(in the Nigerian context) while 1.6% (others) think Nigeria does not need such policy(ies).
Table 15: Reasons for not supporting legalization of production and importation of
GMFs in Nigeria
Degree of Responses Frequency
%
The risk in regulation and handling 19 31.7
The risk in law and order 3 5
Others 1 1.6
Total 23 38.1
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Interest in GMFs
From Table 16, 41.7% of respondents feel GMFS interest them very well, 21.7% feel
GMFs fairly interest them, 15% were neutral, whereas another 21.7% were indifferent.
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Table 16: Interest in GMFs
Degree of Responses Frequency %
Very interesting 25 41.7
Fairly interesting 13 21.7
Neutral 9 15
Indifferent 13 21.7
Total 60 100
Source: Field Survey, 2015
Summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations
This study has assessed the food consumer perception of genetically modified food (GMFs)
in Enugu, Nigeria, which impinges on consumer decision for or against GMFs in the
marketplace. Results showed that 33.3% respondents had a positive attitude to GMFs,
28.3% had a negative attitude, 26.7% were uncertain, and 11.7% were indifferent.
Respondents (58.3%) would buy and/or eat GMFs, while 41.7% would not. About 38.3%
of the respondents would eat and/or buy GMFs for nutritional benefits, 3.3% for their
desire for new things, and 16.6% for better taste and better looks. About 55% of
respondents thought GMFs could cause health damage, 31.7% disagreed, and 13.3% were
not sure. About 65% of respondents believed GMFs were artificial, 23.3% thought
otherwise, and 11.7% had no view. About 61.7% of the respondents thought Nigeria should
legalize the importation and production of GMFs, while the rest (38.3%) thought Nigeria
should not legalize the importation and production of GMFs. About 61.7% of the
respondents thought Nigeria should legalize the importation and production of GMFs,
while 38.3% disagreed. GMFs were of good interest to 41.7% of respondents, 21.7% were
fairly interested in GMFs, 15% were neutral, and another 21.7% were indifferent. Based on
the findings, it is recommended that seminars, workshops and conferences should be
conducted to keep GMF stakeholders abreast of developments.
REFERENCES
Al-jebreen, H. D., 2010. Perceptions and attitudes of Riyadh University Students towards
products derived from genetically modified crops in Saudi Arabia. Pakistan Journal of
Biol. Scs 13(1), 28-33.
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... The results of the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents as presented in Table 1 Table 2 shows that 58% of respondents would accept, buy or eat NEWEST Rice, while 43% would not. This is similar to the findings of Eneh et al. [16] who reported that 58% of respondents in Enugu metropolis Nigeria are willing to accept GM foods. Al-Khayri and Hassan [17] also reported that 48% of consumers will buy or eat GM foods in Saudi. ...
... According to Eneh et al. [16], certain people's view GM foods production and processes as not 100% safe which is a reason for it's none acceptance. However, others claim that the scientific knowledge on potential risks and benefits of GMO is elementary, the net gains in agricultural productivity and the potential profits are both unclear, and the health and environmental risks are little understood. ...
... As presented in Table 2, 20% of the respondents would buy or eat NEWEST Rice because of its cheaper price, 15% for its nutritional benefits, 13% for its better look and better. This is in accordance to the findings of Eneh et al. [16] who found that 38.3% would eat or buy GM foods for nutritional benefits. Ebuehi & Ailohi [18] however found that a higher number of students (75.6%) were willing to buy or eat GM foods for better nutritional characteristics. ...
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... In contrast, over half of academics in Polish universities indicated support for the use of GMOs in food production which implied a probable w i l l i n g n e s s t o c o n s u m e G M 16 foods. Among the consumers in Enugu, over half of them were also willing to consume GM foods even though this survey was among members of the general 10 public. Such positive predisposition towards GM foods is explained by the relatively lower perception of health risks that was demonstrated in this category of 10 respondents. ...
... Among the consumers in Enugu, over half of them were also willing to consume GM foods even though this survey was among members of the general 10 public. Such positive predisposition towards GM foods is explained by the relatively lower perception of health risks that was demonstrated in this category of 10 respondents. The risk perception by respondents could also be a function of their sources of information about GM foods as these have been reported to vary 16 widely. ...
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