The need to deploy biotechnology in food production for Nigeria to boost its agricultural yields, farmers’ income, achieve food security and sensitise the end users on its importance, has been stressed by the Federal Government.
This was disclosed at a one-day sensitisation workshop with the theme, “Community Empowerment through Agricultural Biotechnology: The Role of Council Chairmen, Clerics, Monarchs, Extension Agents and Farmers.”
The workshop, which was held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, was aimed at informing traditional rulers and selected religious leaders about the agricultural biotechnology concept and its benefits.
In his address, the Director General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, who was represented by the Country Director of OFAB, Dr. Rose Gidado, said biotechnology has the potential to end hunger and unemployment in Africa.
Prof. Mustapha stated that countries are under pressure to produce more food for their increasing populace and now use biotechnology to boost production.
“Nigeria is not left out as the government is putting structures and regulation to enhance adoption and practice of biotechnology in the country. Modern biotechnology practice, which uses genetic modification tool, will provide safer, cheaper, better, quality, less waste, less energy, more environmentally friendly and more sustainable products.
“Hence, application of biotechnology to agriculture will ensure the production of significantly more food on less land, with less water in conditions of increasingly unpredictable climate and markets, with less manual labour as well as reduce the amount of waste and losses and produce more nutritious and safe food,” he added.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it has become necessary to sensitise stakeholders in the sector on the importance of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the growth of agriculture in the country.
The Director, Federal Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abdullahi Abubakar, said the sensitisation exercise was timely as it would help expose farmers to facts on the technology and its importance.