The South West Zone of Nigeria has a healthy farming population as statistics show that about 80% of its population are farmers. Crops like Cowpea, Rice, Kolanut, Soybeans, Sorghum bananas, rubber, cocoa and yams are some of the agricultural produces in the zone.
Some farmers participating at the event
As part of her strategies in creating awareness on the potentials of biotechnology in Nigeria, OFAB in collaboration with the Ogun state Government, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the program for Biosafety Systems organised this sensitisation workshop to reach out to the farming communities in the zone. In attendance were over 300 participants from farmer groups, ministries, traditional leaders, student groups, including the former president of the federal republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) who is also a practising farmer.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) in his keynote speech called on the Nigerian government to support research and adopt agricultural biotechnology as one tool that can take farmers out of poverty, fight hunger and curb malnutrition in the country.
Biotechnology stakeholders with the former president, chief Olusegun Obasanjo
Highlight of the event was a panel discussion by Prof. Vincent Tenebe (VC, Taraba State University), Mrs. Adepeju Adebajo (Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture), Dr. Issoufou Kollo (Regional Director AATF), Mr. Daniel Otunge (Coordinator OFAB Africa), Dr. Oladoyin Odubanjo (Executive Secretary, Nigerian Academy of Science), Prof. Afolabi Oluwadun, Olabisi Onabajo University Ago-iwoye; Dr. M.P.O Dore Country Coordinator PBS), Prof. B.O Solomon (OAU Ile Ife) and Dr. Rose Gidado (Country Coordinator OFAB Nigeria). This served as an avenue to respond to the concerns participants had about the technology.
Cross Section of participant at the event
1. Participants were well informed on the importance of the technology and called for sustained advocacy programs by OFAB. 2. The workshop succeeded in allaying the concerns of participants on the regulation and safety of biotechnology and its products. 3. New partnerships and alliances were formed. 4. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo Ph.D (GCFR) called for speedy adoption of agricultural biotechnology.