Modern biotechnology has been identified as an important tool that can help countries to achieve food sufficiency/security, industrial growth, health improvement and environmental sustainability. In the face of our growing population, this technology holds a lot of promise for the development of our agricultural sector, food security and industrial growth.
The national coordinator of the Real-Life Global Humanitarian Foundation, a biotechnology advocacy group, Mr. Akinsoji Akinsola, told journalists during a peaceful demonstration in support of modern biotechnology in Abuja that government should not waste time in fully adopting biotechnology, describing it as a technology that would guarantee food sufficiency, boost the economy and improve farmers’ yield.
He said biotechnology has enormous potential and could help the nation revive sectors of its economy such as the textile industry, boost the agricultural sector, and ensure food security for its teeming population. This was even as he slammed detractors of the technology, dismissing them as unpatriotic, hypocrites and lacking in scientific proofs to justify their claims. He urged government to fast-track processes that would facilitate the commercialisation of genetically modified organisms in the country.
“We’re here to tell the whole world it is time for Nigeria to embrace biotechnology fully without any hindrances whatsoever. We don’t know why anybody would be against biotechnology. It will give us food sufficiency, help the economy, farmers yield. Let people against this technology come with scientific proofs. We just believe they are just paying the bills.
“Let’s ask the simple question, we have fixed land in Nigeria and with the number of farmers reducing every day and population increasing, can the traditional hoe and cutlass agriculture subsist? Then if you say you don’t want biotech, it causes cancer and problems, what of the vaccines you take which go directly to the blood. Food doesn’t go directly to the blood they’re processed, but you don’t think about the insulin that goes straight to the bloodstream. People who are against biotech use insulin when they’re sick, they take vaccines, they’re biotech products so, it’s hypocritical.
“There’s nothing scientific about their claims. They should come with facts of who has been affected, which cancer case has been traced directly to GMOs or biotech,” he said.
He reiterated the technology has the capacity to revamp the nation’s moribund textile sector, adding the nation is ripe for commercialization of GM products.
He added: “I have been to Kano series of times and there are lots of streets where you will see moribund textile industries. This can gear up the industries, you can imagine how many people can be employed and empowered with that.
“We’ are ripe for the commercialization of biotech products. It is a welcome development for Nigeria. We are talking about cowpea that is resistant to Maruca. It will improve yields and it has no negative impact. It is homegrown. I think everybody should come on board let us embrace the technology. Countries that have embraced it are reaping the reward, we are far behind. We should not even be talking of acceptability now but advancing, of developing our own seeds. We should be taking about the economics of the technology.”
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