Nigeria’s Country Coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr Rose Gidado has disclosed that Nigeria had concluded plans to apply biotechnology as a tool to improve agricultural production as well as hike its economic development.
Making the disclosure on Thursday in Abuja, she stressed that the measure would go a long way in enabling Nigeria to employ biotechnology with a view to attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as feed its growing population.
“With this modern technology, we can create employment in line with the goals of the Federal Government. Also, with biotechnology, we can grow our economy beyond mere sustenance to the point of becoming a global major player in food exportation,” Gidado said.
She said that before the end of 2018, Bt Cowpea and Bt Cotton would be in the market as biotechnology products in Nigeria, explaining that the products had passed through all the experimental trial stages successfully and ready to enter market when both international and national regulatory agencies gave their approval.
“Once the approval is given, the products will be released to Varietal Release Committee and once it is approved by the committee then the next thing is commercialisation. From there, the foundation seed, breeder seed will be multiplied and then our local seed companies will come into play. That is where they will take over before the distribution of the seeds,” Gidado said.
According to her, the agencies to give approval include National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), World Health Organisation WHO, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and Organisation for Economic Community Development (OECD).
Gidado said the modern technology had potential of reducing pest problems with economic and environmental benefits when correctly used.
“Though the best technology is used in the production of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) but this can only be done within the confines of the law to ensure that the GMOs have no adverse effects.
“As a giant of Africa, once Nigeria gets it right, it will change the face of Africa in the area of GMOs, “ she said.
She said the Federal Government established NBMA in order to ensure the safety of the products both to human and animal health as well as the environment.
NBMA was established in 2015 with the responsibility to create and monitor the biosafety standards that must be met in order to prevent any accidental release of potentially harmful biological materials. (NAN)