The Director-General of the National Agricultural Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha has said that the agency already has testimonies from farmers across the country, who are benefitting from products of modern biotechnology in the country. He stated this while speaking at a ‘Biotechnology and Biosafety Sensitisation Workshop for Senior Editors’ in Abuja. He said farmers in Nigeria are maximising the potential of genetically-modified crops, stating that farmers are now applying only two insecticide sprays as against eight to 10 sprays previously as a result of planting the Pod Borer-Resistant (PBR) Cowpea.
The pod borer resistant cowpea is helping farmers overcome the devastating impacts of marcuca vitrata that causes 80 per cent destruction on the farmers’ field, adding that farmers are planting Bt. Cotton, another innovative product from modern biotechnology that is changing the game in cotton farming. With this, according to him, the textile industry revival is on course. Mustapha noted that biotechnology is a transformative force that holds immense potential to addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing Nigeria and the world at large. “From healthcare to agriculture, energy to environment, biotechnology offers solutions that can significantly impact the well-being of our citizens and the sustainability of our resources”, he noted.
The, Director, Agricultural Biotechnology Department at NABDA, Dr. Rose Gidado, said that biotechnology is meant to improve the life of the farmers through getting high yields from the crops they have planted. The challenges of climate change, insect infestation and drought require that we think out of the box as scientists to develop crops that will address these challenges. The farmer is there on the field and that is his source of livelihood, he does not have any other thing, so we have to help them come out of the situation they are in to have yield, and for the consumers to have quality products at the end of the day. So, we have to tell these stories to the editors and they have to understand that the population is growing geometrically and we have to feed this teeming population. In years to come, if we don’t do it, we will be out of food”, she said.