National Biotechnology Agency sensitizes professional bodies on GMO

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

In a bid to transform the agriculture sector and fight hunger, the National Biotechnology Agency has organised a workshop to sensitise professional bodies on the advantages of Genetically Modified Organisms’.

The workshop which was organised in collaboration with the Open Forum on Agriculture Biotechnology (OFAB) in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital aims at boosting food production to meet up with the food demand of the country’s populace.

While speaking to Journalist at the workshop, the country Representative of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology OFAB in Africa (Nigeria chapter) Dr. Rose Gidado said the use of science to modify crops can help the economic development in Nigeria.

“ we all have to put our hands on deck, we need some other professional bodies to join us in this campaign…it’s very important as it can contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria ”

According to her “the objective of bringing scientists from other professional areas like the Biotech society, the genetic society and the microbiology etc is because we want expand our scope, we are trying to build capacity and they need to understand what we are doing so that they can join in the campaign for GMO’s in Nigeria”

She added that the organisation is more encouraged now with the response it’s getting from the public and farmers.

The Director General of the National Biotechnology Agency in Nigeria Prof Lucy Ogbadu said the workshop is meant to create a platform were professionals are enlightened about GMO’s in terms that they can easily understand.

All we are trying to do is to show the science behind what we do in a plain language so that the ordinary Nigerian can follow what we do the laboratories

She said that it is hoped that with the introduction of gene editing Nigerians will become more open to GMOs.

“The developed world is now into gene editing and we hope that gene editing will be more acceptable to our people because you are working within the confines of the genetic material of one organism you are not bringing anything from outside into the organism so we hope that this technology will be more acceptable to our people” she added.

Also speaking at the workshop, the Director General of the National Seed council of Nigeria, Dr. Olusegun Ojo, said the training of professionals in GMO technology is a welcome idea as it will help in the area of seed production.

In relation to seed availability for the raining season he said despite shortfalls of funds, that there are enough seeds to cater for the needs of farmers in this wet farming season.

He added that government is working to clear the back log of debt being owed seed producers.

Nnenna.O