Agric. biotech combats harmful effects of climate change on agriculture – Expert

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By Sylvester Thompson

Abuja, Oct. 5, 2020 Dr Rose Gidado, Scientist and Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, Nigeria chapter, says the application of agricultural biotechnology combats the harmful effects of climate change on agriculture.

Gidado, who is also the Deputy Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said this while speaking with journalists on Monday in Abuja.

Speaking on how Nigeria could use genetic modification technology to mitigate climate change, she said agricultural biotechnology offers new opportunities for improving stress resistance through the planting of climate smart crops.

“Agricultural biotechnology is the most dependable solution to mitigate climate change through the use of climate smart crops, energy efficient, reduced fertiliser usage, and carbon sequestration,’’ Gidado said.

“Recent studies by some Nigerian scientists have reported that Nigerian Biotech (Bt) cotton is a climate smart crop.

“The Nigerian Biotech cotton can easily grow well with minimal water requirement, which helps to salvage the drought situation in the North East and North West of Nigeria.

“Advances in breeding help agriculture achieve higher yields and meet the needs of expanding population with limited land and water resources,’’ she said.

Gidado further said that due to improved plant breeding techniques, the productivity gains in worldwide production of primary crops including maize, wheat, rice and oilseed, increased by 21 per cent since 1995.

She said that there was significant reduction in amount of greenhouse gases as a result of the planting of genetically modified crops.

“The reason for this is because genetically modified crops do not need plentiful maintenance as conventional crops.

“Farmers of genetically modified crops do not need to waste much fuel to power their equipment, which is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases,’’ Gidado said.

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