Commercial release of GM beans took 15 years of hard work – AATF
The Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, at the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF) in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Francis Nang’ayo, said the commercialisation of Genetically Modified (GM) beans took scientists 15 years of investment through Public Private Partnerships to help farmers in Africa.
According to him, the recent launch of Pod-Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea in Nigeria is a historical milestone as the first of its kind in Africa.
He said the continent will never become a battleground for genetically modified technology as successes have been recorded in Nigeria and other countries.
Nang’ayo, who disclosed this at a Biosafety and Biotechnology Stakeholders Meeting Agenda in Abuja, said the commercial release of the BT crop took years of research, testing and trials before it was certified safe for consumption, stating that the success recorded in Nigeria made them bring together partners across the continent to learn from the country’s successes for the adoption of the model in their various countries.
The Director General of the Mozambican Agricultural Research Institute, Dr Olga Fafetine, said the country doesn’t have enough food for the people, adding that farmers work hard and harvest little.
She said: “It is necessary to continue with the investment in the establishment of demonstration fields and validation of technologies and also to initiate an investment in seed production.
“The positive results achieved in Nigeria and the lessons learned in all other countries will positively influence the path that our country will take towards the adoption of the products generated by Biotechnology.”
The AATF West African Representative, Dr Jean Baptiste, noted that biotechnology will be successful in a few years to help other partners, mostly those in low-income countries.
He said: “We are ensuring that the technology can be accessible by our farmers, there are some constraints that limit the dissemination of those technologies to our farmers. But we have been trying our best to find a solution in addressing some of those constraints…”
However, the President, the Ethiopia Society of Biotechnology, Professor, Firew Mekbib, said: “We have a different context in Ethiopia. So we learn from Nigeria, how they are handling this, and we take the best practices. It doesn’t mean that everything that you do is the best.
“We take the best products from Nigeria; adopt them in Ethiopia, and advance science and technology…”
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