Farmers across the country have been advised farmers to cultivate Genetically Modified (GM) crops to reduce the use of pesticides and save production cost.
The National Agricultural Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), through its Director General, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, gave the advise at a biotechnology and biosafety sensitisation workshop for senior editors of various media houses held in Abuja at the weekend.
Prof. Mustapha disclosed that many farmers who planted GM beans seed on their farms had recorded significant drop in the number of times they sprayed chemicals to control pests.
“Already, we have testimonies from farmers across the country who are benefiting from products of modern biotechnology in the country. This includes the Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea, which is helping farmers overcome the devastating impacts of marcuca vitrata that causes 80 per cent destruction on the farmers’ field.
“Today, our farmers are applying only two insecticide sprays as against between eight and 10 sprays previously as a result of planting the PBR Cowpea.
“Our farmers are also planting Bt. Cotton, another innovative product from modern biotechnology, that is changing the game in cotton farming, and the hope of the textile industry revival is on course,” Mustapha said.
The director general said the workshop was aimed at enlightening the participants on new trends in biotechnology, in line with the Federal Government’s determination to improve the agricultural sector of the economy.
“Biotechnology is a transformative force that holds immense potential to address some of the most pressing challenges facing Nigeria and the world at large.
“From healthcare to agriculture, energy to environment, biotechnology offers solutions that can significantly impact on the well-being of our citizens and the sustainability of our resources.
“As editors, you play a pivotal role in shaping public opinion and disseminating information. The power of media in shaping narratives and public perception cannot be overstated.
“Hence, your role in communicating agricultural biotechnology to the masses is crucial for fostering understanding, dialogue, and informed decision-making,” he said.
For her part, the agency’s Director, Agricultural Biotechnology, Dr. Rose Gidado, said editors were selected to add value to general reportage on biotechnology and biosafety.
“We have to bring in the editors to educate them because most times we deal with reporters and sometimes the reporters may not get what they want after their stories have been edited by the editors. So the editors too need to understand this technology,” she said.