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The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has joined a league of other GMO advocates to support the production of genetically modified, also known as Bt Cotton in Nigeria.
In a letter to the Country Representative of Monsanto. . . signed by the Director General of the Council, Dr. Hussaini Ibrahim stated that it was concerned with the current dwindling status of cotton production in Nigeria.
RMRDC, which is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, noted that the textile sector had stabilized Nigeria’s economy when it was in full operation in the 1980s.
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RMRDC further observed that over the years, the textile industry had experienced near collapse . . . as a result of non availability of seed cotton; low capacity utilisation in ginneries below 30 percent and collapsed local weaving industries.”
The Council stated that Bt Cotton is a transgenic plant that is incorporated with the Lepidopteran specific Bt gene(s) which control bollworm that belongs to the insect order, Lepidoptera.
According to it, bollworm was capable of reducing yield by up to 70 percent and farmers were distracted from growing cotton because of low profit.
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It noted that although Bt Cotton was introduced to Nigeria and Burkina Faso in 2003, “Burkina Faso and China are counting gains of adoption of Bt Cotton,” adding that time was ripe for Nigeria to adopt the technology in order to keep farmers on the farm.
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