By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja -Dr Rose Gidado, Scientist and National Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Nigeria chapter, says the application of biotechnology to agriculture enhances soil quality and reduces the levels of soil erosion.
She said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
Gidado, also Deputy Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), disclosed that the application of biotechnology to agriculture had numerous benefits.
She assured that if Nigeria would adopt biotechnology, the country would gain tremendously, not only in agriculture, but also in industrial and technological development as well as in environment among others.
Highlighting some of the benefits of biotechnology to agriculture, the Scientist said it would accelerate the selection and transfer of desirable traits.
“It would overcome the barrier of incompatibility between plant species while also ensuring greater water retention and reduced levels of nutrient run-off.
“Application of biotechnology to agriculture shall engineer resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses which include drought, extreme temperature, salinity, insects and pathogens.
“It will ensure and facilitate improved productivity using less land for cultivation,’’ Gidado said.
She mentioned other benefits to also include increase in the size of available gene pool as well as tolerance to specific herbicides, glyphosate and glufosinate which comprises maize, cotton and soybean.
Gidado further said that in industrial and technological development, there was potential for longer shelf life for fruits and vegetables.
According to her, gene silencing reduces metabolic rate which is common in tomato.
She clarified that it would also lead to the production of potato of high amylopectin starch used in textile and other industries.
She said biotechnology enhanced the manufacture of plastics and biofuels.
Speaking on the benefits to the environment, Gidado said there was possibility of reduction in the use of pesticides and other chemicals.
“There is reduction in water pollution problems due to less eutrophication, decreased release of toxins exposure to the environment,’’ she said.
Similarly, she said there would be reduction in global Green House Gas (GHG), emissions due to more carbon in the soil.
Gidado added that biotechnology would also ensure reduction in fuel use resulting in savings in carbon dioxide emissions among other environmental benefits.