Stakeholders call for Genetic Modification of Indegenious crops

‘For the country to make impact, we must promote made in Nigeria products’. This was the resolve of the 241 participants at the ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ Conference held at the Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on the 23rd November 2017.

The Conference, which sought to redefine narratives about Nigeria from a global perspective on Socio-economic growth advancement and National development, was attended by business executives both men and women including youths passionate about improving made in Nigeria products.

The theme of the conference which was the ‘effect of Made in Nigeria products for National Development’ ignited the passion, enthusiasm of Nigerians and re-affirmed their confidence in the potentials of Nigeria especially in making agriculture a business through promoting the research Nigerian Scientists do on indigenous crops to enhance food security.

One of the speakers at the event, Dr. Rose M. Gidado, the OFAB Nigeria Coordinator, on the role of biotechnology in promoting sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria, said poverty has risen in Nigeria because of factors such as the country’s overdependence on oil, low agricultural productivity caused by insect infestation, diseases, weed, and extreme weather conditions. According her, the population of Nigeria is on the increase and the time has come for the country to find ways to produce nutritious and safe food for her growing population.Dr, Rose further explained that there were existing agricultural innovations, which could help address most of the current agricultural challenges. The most important of these innovations is the development of genetically modified crops through biotechnology to solve problems of insects, plant diseases and nutrient deficiency as well as incidences of climate change in Agriculture

Dr. Rose Gidado, speaking at the Event

In her presentation, Dr. Gidado said Nigeria government has taken by establishing the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) as part of efforts to developing and promoting biotechnology activities in Nigeria. Currently, Nigeria is conducting research on food security crops like cowpea for insect resistance; Sorghum for Nutritional Enhancement; Rice for Nitrogen Efficiency; Maize for Water Efficiency, etc

The economic benefits of this technology is said enormous. With the country spending about16 billion Naira annually to import cowpea, Nigeria can generate 48billion Naira with the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea, that is being developed in Zaria. In the vein, rice has a high uptake of Nitrogen and farmers will save cost from buying fertilizers when Nitrogen efficiency rice is commercialized. Africa Biorfortified Sorghum will help fight malnutrition with its ability to achieve 100% of recommended daily Vitamin A allowance for children and Bt. Cotton, resistant to cotton bollworm insect will reduce spraying for farmers, thereby saving cost.

Post harvest losses which is also a big challenge in the agricultural value chain will be taken care of if basic infrastructure is provided by the Federal Government.  The Ministry of works should link up with the ministry of agriculture to see roads that should be accessed for farmers to the market. We must urge government to invest in R and D across board. Dr. Rose recommended.

A Prestigious Award was given to the OFAB coordinator for her immense contribution towards promoting Agric-Biotech awareness in the Country.

Dr. Rose recieves an award of service from the Greensprings group

Other delegates that spoke at the conference were the Managing Director Interior Woodworks, Mr. Odunayo Emasealu, CEO PRESCO plc, Mr. Felix Nwabuiko and the representative of the Former Governor of Rivers State. They all expresses satisfaction with the initiative to promote made in Nigeria products, noting that is it a good step towards National development and attaining self sufficiency in Nigeria.