Experts have urged Nigerians to use biotechnology to mitigate climate change and ensure food security in the country.
Country Director, Open Forum on Agricultural biotechnology, Nigeria (OFAB), Dr. Rose Gidado, stated this on the sideline of the science hangout, organised by the Alliance for Science Nigeria (ASN) on Monday in Abuja.
Gidado informed that the meeting was to discuss the status of genetically modified food and how best to deploy biotechnology to ensure food security in Nigeria.
According to her, conventional agriculture might be failing due to a lot of reasons related to climate change, including incessant high rise in temperature, gully erosion and desert encroachment, adding that oil spillage, insecurities on the farms are other environmental causes of conventional agriculture failure.
She said, “Bio-technology has been adopted in Nigeria, a seed launch was held last year in Kano and farmers are witnessing greater yields and one of the economic benefits is a 20 percent yield increase per hectare.
“With the use of this technology, we are saving Nigeria N16 billion, which is normally used to import cowpeas; these crops undergo rigorous testing, making them safer for consumption compared to organic crops.”
Gidado explained that what makes genetic modification unique is its flexibility to adopt desired genes from donor plants and input into a crop aimed at achieving best desired results and helping with resistance in certain crops.
On his part, Founder/CEO, Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal, said although genetically modified crops were facing issues around conspiracy theories, data and evidence were available to show that the technologies are straightforward science.
He said, “Six million people in Nigeria go to bed hungry on a daily basis; the issue of food insecurity is at a critical stage globally. That’s why biotechnology innovation is here to stay; it is an intervention that will save us from food shortage in the country.
“Until now, there were debates around climate change too; people will naturally reject what they don’t know because there is no trust yet which is only expected. The best we can do is to educate the public and carry out more sensitisation on this technology that will change a lot of things and ensure we eat safer food,” Lawal added.