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Farmers to get genetically modified maize in 18 months – NABDA boss

By Guardian Nigeria
12 November 2021   |   12:58 pm
Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), says the genetically modified maize would get to Nigerian farmers in one year and six-months.

Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), says the genetically modified maize would get to Nigerian farmers in one year and six-months.

Mustapha disclosed this at the 5th edition of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Media Awards in Abuja.

According to him, the maize variety has already been regulated by the National Biosafety Management Agency, meaning the genes of insert was certified safe by the agency.

The D-G noted that the next phase of commercialisation was very crucial to the success already recorded adding that failure to get to farmers would signify failure of the whole process involved.

Mustapha applauded the rapid transformation the agricultural biotechnology sector in Nigeria was undergoing and the progress made in cotton and cowpea.

He maintained that the federal government fully recognised agricultural biotechnology as one of the pillars that would make meaningful contributions to food security in Nigeria.

He also said that primitive agricultural practices were facing various challenges, noting that science, technology and innovation held the key to overcoming those challenges.

Dr Rose Gidado, Country Coordinator, OFAB in Nigeria, said that scientists and researchers were making progress in the deployment of agricultural biotechnology in the country.

“But some arm-chair critics who see nothing good in the efforts of Nigerian scientists, who in spite of limited funding and most vital facilities are making progress breaking new grounds.

“Unfortunately, some of our media have provided space to those anti-technologists who are interested in seeing Nigeria importing everything rather than support our scientists to produce such crops,’’ Gidado said.

The OFAB Coordinator in Nigeria explained that the media award was an annual event instituted by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) for OFAB in seven African countries.

She mentioned the countries to include: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Gidado also said that the award, which was in its fifth year, was aimed at recognising and rewarding exemplary journalism that stimulates best practices in adoption of agricultural technologies, especially agricultural biotechnology.

The event saw the delivery of goodwill messages by prominent agricultural and scientific professional bodies and organisations.

The keynote presentation was on “The media as a tool for building a food secured Nigeria,’’ delivered by Mr Martins Oloja, Managing Director of Guardian Newspaper.

Hadiza Mohammed of NTA Kano took the first position in the television category and emerged overall winner while Mr Collins Nnabuife of Tribune Newspaper took the first position in the print category.