The Biosafety Bill was signed into law in 2015, putting Nigeria on the map of countries with requisite regulations for effective practice of modern agricultural biotechnology. The biosafety law allowed for the establishment of a biosafety regulatory agency, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) which has announced the nation’s readiness for the commercialization of genetically modified (GM) products. This means that Nigeria will soon begin the commercialization of staple crops which have gone through the world standard procedure of studies and observations in the field called confined field trials (CFTs).
These crops of interest include Maruca-resistant cowpea (Beans) fortified with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt); the nitrogen use efficient, water use efficient and salt tolerant (NEWEST) rice; African bio-fortified sorghum (ABS); Bt maize; herbicide tolerant soybeans and virus resistant cassava enhanced with iron and zinc as well as the Bt cotton which is on general release.
The Bt cowpea which has gone through all the stages and is currently being observed by farmers in the field trial and the Bt cotton which is on general release have been penciled down for commercialization in 2018.
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