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    Nigeria: Government to support 1000 cotton farmers

    APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

    The Nigerian Federal Government is to train and support 1000 farmers to cultivate Biotechnology (Bt) cotton which will aid the resuscitation of country’s ailing textile industry.

    The Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Development (OFAB), Dr. Rose Gidado, said that extension service agents would also be trained and deployed to educate farmers on how to ensure optimal and higher yields of bt cotton.

    Gidado described the incessant campaigns against the use of Genetically Modified (GM) products or food in Nigeria as being politically motivated.

    The report by Nigeria’s Independent newspaper quoted Gidado as saying in a live radio programme monitored in Abuja, that the anti-GMO crusaders are “enemies of progress who do not want Africa to be food secure.”

    According to her, the safety of GM food has been politicised to create confusion in the society.

    She noted that genetically modified products are highly regulated in Nigeria by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) and that biotechnology would enhance higher productivity of agricultural produce as well as move farmers from subsistence agriculture to commercial.

    Speaking on ‘The Role of Biotechnology in Achieving Food Security in Nigeria,’ she argued that with the increasing population in the country, Nigeria cannot feed her citizenry with conventional agriculture.

    While enumerating the benefits of biotechnology, she noted that GM crops are drought resistant, environmentally friendly and ensures efficient fertilizer use.

    She therefore called for adequate investment and creation of awareness of the technology to Nigerian farmers.

    The first home grown genetically modified crop, Bt cotton, was released recently in Nigeria after the meeting of the Varietal Release Committee in Ibadan, Oyo State in south-western Nigeria.


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