Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo says Nigeria needs to embrace biotechnology as a sure way in feeding the country’s ever-teeming population.
Obasanjo made this known at the South-West Sensitisation programme of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in the Ogun state capital, Abeokuta.
The ex-president said, for Nigeria to feed its ever-growing population there is need for the country to welcome innovative practices such as biotechnology – which is an attainable means to end hunger across the world.
In his view, biotechnology had the ability to boost food production and ensure food security and stability in the country.
He elucidated that an introduction of biotechnology would lead to efficient industrial development process for transforming raw materials and detoxifying hazardous wastes and reducing mortality rates as well.
“If agricultural yields stay the same, we would need to cultivate more than double the present amount of land to feed that population. That’s 82 per cent of our total land area on earth,” he said.
Obasanjo noted that agriculture remained one of the most viable and veritable tool in diversification as it had the capacity to boost the nation’s GDP and increase the general wellbeing of the citizens.
In his words, “Deliberate efforts should be made on the part of government to encourage scientific incursion into agriculture via policy measures specifically designed to encourage research and development and the adoption of new technologies.”
He also lauded the OFAB for its work “This scenario heightens the critical role of innovation to make agriculture a business more competitive and sustainable. I’m excited that OFAB has presented a formidable platform for dialogue on the transformation of agriculture through quality information dissemination on agricultural biotechnology in Africa.”
Meanwhile, the Overseeing Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Mr Oguntunde Abayomi, said the event was imperative as it exposed Africa to the possibilities of biotechnology and most important, it came at a time when countries were enacting various agricultural policies.
“By this creative initiative, it has become possible for Nigerians to identify their need for improved agricultural technologies and recognize where they stand in the scheme of things in terms of the effort to achieve global food security through sustainable agricultural practice,” he stated.
In the same vein, Country Coordinator of OFAB, Dr Rose Gidado, said the programme was projected at sensitizing the public on the need for biotechnology and lead them to understand its significance.