Advancement in biotechnology ushering new era of agricultural productivity — NBRDA

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By Bukola Adewumi

The National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency (NBRDA) says the rapid advancement in biotechnology, particularly genetic engineering, has ushered in a new era of possibilities for enhancing agricultural productivity.

Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General, NBRDA, spoke at a Ministerial Meeting on Demystifying Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) with civil society organisations on Tuesday in Abuja.

“In improving human health, mitigating environmental challenges and driving socio-economic development, our world is at a critical juncture; where scientific advancements intersect with societal values and concerns.”

Mustapha said it was imperative to engage in open, transparent and inclusive dialogues surrounding biotechnology, particularly GMOs.

He said the subject of GMOs had often been shrouded in misinformation, misunderstanding, fear, controversies and concerns regarding their safety, regulation, ethical implications, and socio-economic impacts.

Mustapha said the meeting served as a platform for informed dialogue, evidence-based discussion and collaborative action to address the multifaceted dimensions of GMOs.

According to him, the required synergy can be achieved by bringing together stakeholders from across government academia, industry, farmer groups, civil society and the public.

“The meeting is  aimed to foster a deeper understanding of the issues at hand, identify common ground and chart a collective path forward that would prioritise the public good, safety and sustainability,” he said.

In her remarks, Dr Rose Gidado, Director Agricultural Biotechnology Department, NBRDA, said food security remained the utmost importance in the country.

“It is a matter of emergency; I think the president has placed emergency on that and we cannot achieve that food security without the use of innovation science and technology,’’ she said.

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Gidado said that the bio-modern biotechnology practice had a lot of potential with plenty of promise for food security enhancement.

On his part, Kabir Ibrahim, National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) said GMOs crops were safe and had the capability to take farmers out of poverty.

He said there was the need to look inward to upscale food production with the use of science and technology in order to feed the growing population.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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