Home Business Nigeria has biotechnologically improved crops – Adesina

Nigeria has biotechnologically improved crops – Adesina


ABUJA –  Nigeria has biotechnologically improved crops and not genetically modified crops, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has explained The minister gave this explanation at a Leadership Forum organised by the Nigerian Newsworld magazine/Nigerian Pilot Newspaper in Abuja on Friday. “What we have in Nigeria is biotechnologically improved crops to raise yields for farmers and not genetically modified crops as being speculated’’, he said. He added that the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia, conducts research into genetic improvement of economically important root and tuber crops. The minister noted that the institute had been conducting more research into cassava, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato, among others, for their richness in vitamins He held that when the Biosafety Bill becomes an Act, it would regulate the research, development and application of any genetically modified organism. Adesina said the focus of the agricultural transformation agenda of the present administration was to create jobs, improve rural economy and grow the wealth of the nation. “In doing that, we decided to embark on reforms with a focus on the private sector participation to encourage quality value chain.  “We decentralised the entire ministry and today, we have 36 offices and six regional directors, each in the geopolitical zones of the country to ensure close contact with farmers’’, he said. Adesina said the ministry had been able to get fertiliser to the farmers easier and direct via e-wallet, which he said other African nations had copied from Nigeria. He said the ministry also provided mobile phones to scale up the access to improved seeds and fertilisers to millions of farmers directly. The minister observed that with the agricultural transformation agenda, the seeds companies in the country rose from five to 80 within three years. Adesina also noted that the Federal Government succeeded in getting seeds and fertilisers to farmers via the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) in 2012. According to him, the system ends 40 years of corruption on fertilisers and cuts off rent seekers and middlemen who, for decades, have entrenched massive corruption in the sector.  Mr Dennis Sami, Publisher of Newsworld and Nigerian Pilot, said there was need to inform the public on government’s activities to instil confidence in the citizens. According to him, agricultural transformation agenda is one of the cardinal programmes aimed at creating jobs by the present administration. (NAN)

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