Nigeria’s future looks bright with agricultural biotechnology -Expert


By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja, June 10, 2021 Dr Rose Gidado, Scientist and Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology(OFAB), says Nigeria has a bright future in agricultural biotechnology researches.
Gidado, also Deputy Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA), said this when she spoke with newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
Biotechnology is defined as the use of biology to solve problems and make useful products. Biotechnology has also proved helpful in refining industrial processes, in environmental cleanup, and in agricultural production.
According to her, though the challenges of regulator roadblocks and stiffened processes of approval continue to remain major challenges for aspiring biotech innovators, researches into agricultural biotechnology will continue to thrive.
Gidado advised for continuous advocacy and tailored scientific communication mostly targeted at policy makers and key stakeholders in agricultural sector like farmers for better results.
“With the commercialisation of two genetically modified crops, Biotech(Bt) Cotton and Bt Cowpea, Nigeria is already on its way to not just attain food food security but nutrition security.
“The Federal Government can intensify efforts to deploy biotechnology tools into the agriculture sector that will lead to mass production of functional foods at very cheap and affordable cost,’’ she said.
She noted that the rapid drop in the cost of whole genome sequencing and synthesis technologies meant that scientists could carry out more researches much faster at a lower cost.
“From the medieval technology of the 11th century to the more powerful tools of genome editing technologies of the 21st century.
“ It is obvious that the techniques of shaping tools to meet critical needs as they arise has always formed part of human culture,’’ she said.
The OFAB Nigerian coordinator further said that genetic engineering technology was one of the most powerful tools of the 21st century that would revolutionise the world system.
She expressed optimism that the technology would also solve basic problems of hidden hunger, climate change and Coronavirus among others.