The federal government said it has become necessary to strengthen the knowledge of farmers, extension agents and religious leaders on the benefit of modern biotechnology. 

Speaking at the ‘Community Empowerment through Agricultural Biotechnology: the Role of Council Chairmen, Clerics, Monarchs, Extension Agents and Farmers’ in Abuja, the Director- General/CEO of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha said these categories of stakeholders have key roles to play in creating awareness and promoting useful and beneficial technologies especially modern biotechnology at the grassroots level.

He said African leaders have shown interest in adopting modern agricultural biotechnology because of its potential to address hunger and unemployment.

“Our agricultural environment is deteriorating. Seed varieties perform low and are obsolete and do not correspond to the new climatic factors. There is high pressure of insect pests and diseases. Soil fertility is low and there is lack of capital funding for investments. Therefore, adaptation to changing climatic conditions makes it imperative to explore adaptable strategies and emerging technology tools like modern biotechnology aimed at tackling these challenges to produce more food for the masses,” the DG said.

Represented Dr Rose Gidado, a director in the agency and the country coordinator Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), he stressed that the modern biotechnology practice, will provide safer, cheaper, better quality, less waste, less energy, more environmentally friendly and more sustainable products in the country.

President All Framers Association of Nigeria, Arc  Kabir  Ibrahim told the gathering that the  farmers  in  Nigeria  have  embraced  Biotechnology  as  a  game-changer to take them out of poverty, to take them to prosperity and enable them to bring about the much-desired food security to  Nigeria  as  well  as investments to the country.