Food security: Research agency advises farmers to adopt biotechnology

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The Federal Government has advised farmers to embrace biotechnology as a measure to tackle food shortage and disease control.

The Director-General of the National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency (NBRDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, gave the advice at a one-day agricultural Biotechnology Youth Vanguard (BYV) Workshop for farmers and Biotechnology students held in Owerri on Thursday.

He said that biotechnology, as an emerging science, held the solution to the menace of food insecurity, incessant insect attacks, climate change and healthcare disparities.

Abdullahi, who inauguratd BYV at the worskshop, emphasised the need to encourage more youths to become “part of the greater biotechnology scientists in the country.

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“It is imperative that we equip our youth with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to leverage biotechnology for sustainable development and societal progress,” he said.

He said that NBRDA aims at promoting, coordinating, and setting research and development priority in biotechnology in the country.

In a remark, Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo said the establishment of the BYV would serve as a platform for nurturing talent, fostering innovation and driving progress in the sector.

“Biotechnology holds immense promise for addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing our society from ensuring food security and sustainable agriculture to combating diseases and improving healthcare outcomes,” he said.

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Uzodimma, represented by the Director-General of the State Investment Promotion Agency, Prof. Jude Ezeako, pledged his support for the project.

He charged the youths to advance the state as a hub of innovation and excellence in biotechnology.

Speaking on the topic, “Agricultural Biotechnology Journey in Nigeria”, the Director, Agricultural Biotechnology Department, NBRDA, Dr Rose Gidado, said biotechnology had advanced and made agriculture a business over the years.

She, however, said that there was still more to do on biotechnology to further ensure high yielding plants and seeds, reduce cost of production and boost the country’s GDP.

In an interview, the newly Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology Youth Vanguard President, Miss Esther John, said the event had exposed her and other students to the world of biotechnology.

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“It has helped us to understand that our course, Biotechnology, entails more than manipulating genes, as there are new technologies that make the world better, especially in the agricultural sector,” John said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the programme is, “Cultivating Tomorrow’s Agricultural Innovators: Inaugural Workshop for the Agricultural Biotechnology Youth Vanguard.”

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