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How biotech will revolutionize Nigeria’s food production – Prof Mustapha

The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) said the deployment of safe biotechnology tools is already revolutionizing food production in Nigeria. The Director General/CEO of the…

The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) said the deployment of safe biotechnology tools is already revolutionizing food production in Nigeria.

The Director General/CEO of the agency, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, while speaking at the one-day Biotechnology and Biosafety Sensitization workshop for the Southwest region of Nigeria at the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, said the African continent at large will witness a massive transformation of its agricultural systems.

“In agriculture, it promises to enhance food security with crops with higher yields, improved nutritional value, and resistance to pests and environmental hazards, while reducing dependence on fertilizers and herbicides,” he said.

He listed some transgenic crops in the pipeline for commercialization including the TELA maize, and HT soybean, among several others, which will strengthen production across the country.

“Nigeria’s transgenic cowpea, which is the world’s first genetically modified Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea, is revolutionizing the nation’s food production.

“There have been no track records of any ill-health effect on humans and animals, the crops are rather penetrating the deepest region of the Nigerian market, improving the livelihoods and health of the Nigerian local farmers through insecticide spray reduction,” he said.

Dr. Rose M. Gidado, Director, Agricultural Biotechnology Department (DABD) of NABDA emphasized that “the solution to improving the lifestyles of people around the world is to continue pursuing technological advancements like agricultural biotechnology so that people can continue to rise out of poverty as our population continues to grow.”

“Over time, technologies like Genetic Engineering will help every farmer become outstanding in his or her field. And that means more food for everyone,” she said.

Dr. Gidado who is a biotech scientist, opined that to refute the majority of health-related allegations made by anti-GM groups in this area, it was crucial to educate the Southwest zone on the advantages of biotechnology and its safety.

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