Obasanjo wants biotechnology to end hunger globally
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has canvassed the adoption of biotechnology in agriculture to end hunger across the world.He spoke in Abeokuta at the South-West Sensitisation programme of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB).
According to him, the world’s population is estimated to reach about 9.7 billion by 2050, adding that more land must be cultivated to meet global food demands.He said: “If agricultural yields remains the same, we would need to cultivate more than double the present amount of land to feed that population. That is 82 per cent of our total land area on earth.
“Biotechnology is taking mankind beyond the depths of understanding of chemical and physical possibilities. It has the potential to increase agricultural productivity, enhance food security and develop a better health care delivery system.
“It would also boost an efficient industrial development process for transforming raw materials and detoxifying hazardous wastes, reducing mortality rates, moving agriculture away from a dependence on chemical inputs and reducing environmental problems.
Obasanjo explained that agriculture occupies a strategic position in global efforts to address issues of hunger and diseases.He stressed that it had remained one of the most potent tools for Nigeria, as government intensifies efforts to diversify the economy and enhance the wellbeing of the people.
The ex-president canvased deliberate efforts on the part of government to encourage scientific incursion into agriculture through policy measures.He said these should be specifically designed to encourage research and development, as well as the adoption of new technologies. Obasanjo explained that the challenges of today’s world had brought pressure on agriculture, population growth, insects and pests infestation of crops.
The situation has also created weed invasiveness, soil infertility, and salinity, the impact of climate change, as well as drought and rise in temperature.Also included is greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy shortages.“This scenario heightens the critical role of innovation to make agriculture a business that is more competitive and sustainable.
“I’m excited that OFAB has presented a formidable platform for dialogue on the transformation of agriculture, through quality information dissemination on agricultural biotechnology in Africa,” he added.Also, the Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Mr. Oguntunde Abayomi, described the event as very timely and penitent.He said it was more so as Nigeria and other African countries are adopting improved agricultural technologies for food security.OFAB Country Coordinator, Dr. Rose Gidado, highlighted why biotechnology has kept the promise of achieving food security across the world.
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