Dr. Rose Gidado, Country Coordinator of OFAB

Group urges Federal Government to declare emergency in food production

*Nigeria should adopt Genetic Modification (GM) technology during and after COVID-19 for food sustainability ─ Dr. Rose Gidado, OFAB Country Coordinator

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) leadership has advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to declare a state of emergency in food production.

Dr. Rose Gidado, Country Coordinator of OFAB, who stated this in an interview Monday, June 22, said that achieving sustainable food supply in the country in the COVID-19 period would be difficult without declaring a state of emergency in food production, according to agency report.

While advising the government to adopt appropriate technologies in agriculture, Dr. Gidado stated that the country should adopt Genetic Modification (GM) technology during and after Coronavirus pandemic to ensure food sustainability for the Nigerian consumers.

Whether or not Nigeria will be able to recover from the looming food crisis only depends on the type of approaches adopted, said she.

Gidado, also a Deputy Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) disclosed that the technology of genetic modification of crops is a promising tool in mitigating the negative effect of the pandemic on food security.

The NABDA Deputy Director said: “It involves the manipulation of genes in a living organism to make or modify biological product or to improve the organism for specific uses.

“It enhances food security through the production of foods with longer shelf life, higher yields, increased nutritional content, shorter harvest time, disease and pest resistance as well as stress tolerant.’’

According to her, the application of GM in agriculture to create resistant plant resources has been used to achieve food security in some advanced economies of the world.

Climate smart GM seeds that would reduce the need for routine farm practices while ensuring higher yields should be adopted by the government and other stakeholders, Gidado said.

The OFAB Country Coordinator stated that the combination of agricultural biotechnology tools offered an exciting and environmentally responsible way to meet consumer demand for sustainable agriculture in this period of COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

She urged the government to invest in remote sensing and satellite imagery, which means big data and Internet of Things (IoT) among others for agricultural activities.

“This will help in monitoring crop status, diseased or distressed, estimate crop yield, identify fertilisation and pesticide needs as well as early warning for insect attacks,’’ Gidado disclosed.

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