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4 Dec 2013

‘Biotech’ll unlock Nigeria’s agric potentials’

Biotechnology has the capacity to unlock the agricultural potentials of  Nigerians and indeed, the government could embrace the reinvented  agric model in its present effort to actualize food sufficiency by 2015.
This was the view of Biotechnology experts and other participants, who gathered at the November edition of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, OFAB Africa held in Abuja last week with the theme: Unravelling The Great GMO Divide: Perspective from a Former Global Anti-GM Activist.
They dismissed the misconception about genetically modified foods, GM which some believe are dangerous to health. The intense debate over GM foods or crops and its applications focuses mainly on hypothetical risks and questions related to value, safety and impact.
According to the NABDA boss, most questions raised about the hypothetical risks of GM foods had been put to rest in the last ten years, following the numerous studies and evidence-based fact finding missions that showed that biotechnology derived products have been proven to be economically viable, environmentally sustainable and safe as their conventional counterparts.
When properly integrated into traditional farming systems, he said biotechnology applications could make a difference in improving food security in Africa and other developing countries at large.
Evidence abound that most African countries are reluctant to adopt biotechnology derived products as the policy makers are confronted with contradictory sources of information and threats from some trade partners.
Delivering the Keynote address, environmental activist and Oxford University lecturer, Mark Lynas said biotechnology will unlock Nigeria achieve food sufficiency with the adoption of biotechnology.
He said that the controversy over GMOs represent one of the greatest science communications failures of the past half-century.
He regretted that billions of people over the time have come to believe a story about GMOs, which is not just wrong in parts but across the across the board in the precise opposite of the scientific truth.
He attributed the blame to scientists, who failed to inform society of the real benefits of their work, even when the scale of the challenge became clear.


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