The director-general/chief executive officer of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof Alex Akpa, has said that the Bt cotton variety will be a game changer for the nation’s cotton and textile industries.
Akpa, who spoke at the recent 2019 OFAB Media Awards, said the new Bt cotton technology could yield 4.1 to 4.4 tonnes per hectare, compared to the local varieties farmers use, which give only 600 to 900 kilogrammes per hectare.
Speaking against the attitude of those kicking against the technology, he said that apart from its pest-resistance qualities, the new Bt cotton matures early and has a fibre length of 30.0 to 30.5 millimetres, among other qualities the local varieties do not possess.
“Permit me to use this opportunity to appeal to media practitioners to completely shut out the anti-GM crusaders and allocate that space to the provision of more useful information that will help the public make informed decisions on modern biotechnology,” he said.
President of the Genetics Society of Nigeria, Prof Emmanuel Kwon-Ndung, said the technology was not imported, noting, “Our scientists were involved in all the processes of the development of Bt cotton and cowpea.”
The deputy director, National Biotech Development Agency and OFAB Nigeria chapter coordinator, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Dr Rose M. Gidado said, “The successful environmental/commercial approval and adoption of two genetically modified crops – cotton and cowpea – are proof that Nigerians want a better country and won’t be distracted by myths that have been proven false, time and again.”
He said science and technology were at the base of solving human’s most pertinent problems, from climate change to food insecurity and health, among others.