Key factor in disinformation hindering adoption of agricultural biotechnology in Nigeria – DG NABDA

The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) lamented that misinformation is one of the key factors that have hampered the adoption of agricultural biotechnology in Nigeria.

He said decades of negative biotech news were responsible for the current skepticism among farmers.

NABDA Director General / CEO Professor Abdullahi Mustapha said this in Abuja during a program on PBR cowpea (beans) with the theme: A public-private partnership (PPP) model for food and nutrition security in Africa.

He said the commercialization of genetically modified cotton cowpea in the country was a huge success with the scientific community developing and releasing varieties that meet the nation’s needs, addressing challenges that so far could not be mitigated by using conventional breeding methods.

The CEO of NABDA noted that the products have also been certified safe by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), which is the competent national authority on the safety of genetically improved organisms in Nigeria, adding that they are safe for humans, the environment and animals, so do not present any risk.

He says, “Genetically improved products have been around in other countries around the world for almost three decades, using technology to meet their agricultural productivity challenges, improve their health sector, but here the technology has been the focus. unnecessary criticism that does not take us anywhere.

“The long road to commercialization would prove fruitless if the crop is not adopted and accepted by farmers and consumers.

“To avoid this predicament, the post-market environment requires sustainable awareness and media efforts with various partners and new stakeholders. “

United States Department of Agriculture agricultural affairs adviser Mr. Gerald Smith said the commercialization of the transgenic bean also highlights that extensive safety studies have been carried out to demonstrate that Bt cowpea is safe. for human and animal consumption.

He said the thousands of farmers across Nigeria who have planted Bt cowpeas this planting season are testament to the multiple benefits they have gained over previous seasons.

“This success of a transgenic bean adds a new crop from Africa to the global basket of biotechnologies,” he noted.

Outgoing President of the Genetics Society of Nigeria (GSN) Professor Emmanuel Hala Kwon-Ndung, who noted that anti-GMO activists have stepped up their opposition by backing some gullible Nigerians to denounce Bt cowpea technology, said that their claims are not only wrong but are anti-progressive, anti-nationalist and hypocritical to the aspirations of the Nigerian people who need more food to feed their teeming population.

“They commonly cite concerns about human and environmental health, the disruption of conventional farming systems, and even fears that multinational seed companies are taking control of our food production system.

“We are here as professional experts to tell Nigerians that their claims are not only false, but that they are anti-progressive, anti-nationalist and hypocritical towards the aspirations of the Nigerian people who need more food to feed its teeming population and alleviate its poverty. many smallholders, ”he said.

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