Okwe Obi and Samuel Bello, Abuja
The Federal Government has said that lack of awareness, ineffective information sharing by scientists and even cultural and religious factors constituted some of the reasons why Nigerians do not make use biotechnology crops.
The government explained that biotechnology crops have the potential of increasing yield and lowering production costs.
Chief Executive Officer, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpa, who stated this at a stakeholders meeting of biotechnology and biosafety, on Wednesday, in Abuja, added that with biotechnology Genetic Manufacturing Crops (GMC), farmers would get a greater financial return while using more environmental friendly farming practices.
Akpa also advised those who specialised in misleading the public of what biotechnology crops was not should desists, promising that he would ensure adequate and simplified information about biotech crops.
“Some groups in the country have constituted themselves into an authority that sit in the comforts of their homes and criticise the technology employing fears and unscientific analysis. We must resist these groups.”
As it stands, of the three African countries that grow GMC commercially, South Africa is the largest producer of it such as maize, soybeans and cotton followed by Burkina Faso with cotton and Egypt.
Speaking earlier, Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), in Africa, Nigeria Chapter, Dr. Rose Gidado, said the forum had plotted strategies for Nigeria to transit from susbsistent to commercial farming.
“We have adopted certain methods to help the country advance in agriculture by engaging universities, stakeholders and policymakers.”