Country Coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Nigeria, Dr. Rose Gidado has said Nigeria could meet over 50 per cent of the food demands nationwide if biotechnology is adopted and properly deployed in crop breeding and other areas of agriculture.
Speaking on the second day of the Farmers and Extension Agents Retreat holding in Kano, Dr. Gidado said although experts are concerned about attempts by opponents of biotechnology to twist facts and create distrust for new methods of breeding crops among the public, evidence have shown that, with biotechnology, Nigeria may not need to express fears about how to feed the fast growing population.
To make this happen, Dr. Gidado has urged the government to intensify efforts toward making biotechnology a key part of the country’s agricultural growth plans.
“Nigeria’s population is growing at a very rapid rate, raising fears about the ability of the country to feed the people. True as that fear may be, with biotechnology, Nigeria can meet 50 per cent and more of the food demands across all states,” Dr. Gidado said.
Continuing, she said, “Although there are ethical concerns about how the anti – biotechnology campaigners have distorted the facts about the technology and its effect on health, environment, among other issues, we are consoled by the fact that al that they have peddled are only perceived and far from the truth.”
According to her, the Bt Cotton and Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea are among some of the success stories from the deployment of biotechnology by indigenous scientists across the country.
Dr. Gidado is optimistic that an expansion of biotechnology application to cover other crops and areas is the real game changer for Nigeria.