Agricultural experts argue biotech would improve crop yields, diversify Nigerian economy

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Agricultural experts in Nigeria have identified farming as a major source of boosting the country’s economy and saving it from the overdependence on petroleum and petroleum products.

Scientists argue that agricultural biotechnology or Genetic Modification (GM) will not only boost yields but also provide sufficient food for the rising population and create job opportunities.

They have also argued that biotechnology would play a major role in revitalizing the agric sector and diversifying the country’s economy.

These were parts of the discussions at the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology which was organised by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Abuja.

Although Nigeria has a Biosafety law, the forum seeks to address and educate the public about the importance of biotechnology to the country and also allay their fears about the modern technology.

Over the years, it has been argued that this modern application into the farming system is harmful or might endanger the lives of its consumers but agricultural scientists have countered these allegations describing them as emotive and misleading and not supported by any scientific evidence.

The Director General of NABDA, Professor Lucy Ogbadu explained that “the successful operation of a biosafety law in the country ensures that over 70 million farmers will begin to reap the significant benefits of modern biotechnology”.

GM products in Nigeria are currently undergoing confined field trials in various research institutes across the country including: bio-fortified cassava enhanced with pro-vitamin A, GM rice modified for nitrogen use efficiency, water use deficiency and salt tolerance as well as GM cassava resistant to cassava mosaic virus and brown steak virus.

Read full, original post: Scientists advocate Agricultural Biotechnology for sustainable growth

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