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Providing Succour To Nigerian Farmers Through Biotechnology

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American farmers have widely adopted genetically modified crops since their introduction in 1996, especially corn, cotton and soybeans varieties.  The U.S. farm income from 1996 to 2016 is approximately $186.1 billion resulting from enhanced productivity and efficiency gains from agricultural biotechnology.

Decades of documented evidence uphold that agricultural biotechnology is both safe and beneficial; it contributes to both environmental and economic sustainability. American farmers choose biotech crops because they increase yield and lower production costs. They get a greater financial return while using more environmentally friendly farming practices through the use of agricultural biotechnology.

Nigerian farmers have over the years persistently experienced a lot of difficulties in their farming course, and this has demoralized many people from going into farming. It has also contributed to shortage of locally produced food and raw materials for our industries. Farming in Nigeria has constantly been characterized by low productivity, high cost of pesticides to apply to crops, drought, flood and pest but today, with the adoption of modern biotechnology, the country promises to ease farming.

Biotechnology has come to address major challenges being faced today in the Nigerian society especially, the challenge of hunger and unemployment. The adoption of agricultural biotechnology around the world has gone a long way to alleviate the burden of subsistence farming. Today, Nigeria is proud to be among the League of Nations that has embraced agricultural biotechnology. In large measure, the Nigerian farmers will have more than enough yields to feed their families and sell in the open market.

Modern biotechnology has the capacity to boost and improve productivity. By this, farmers are relieved from the cost burden of procuring excessive amounts of chemicals like pesticides and fertilizer to grow their crops. These chemicals have been confirmed to be inimical to farmers’ health and the environment. With biotechnology, the spraying of chemicals is drastically reduced. Drought and flood are natural phenomena that occur. Their occurrences could immensely affect the agricultural output per hectare of farmland but modern biotechnology has ensured that there are crops that can withstand them and this is a great relief to our farmers. There are GM crops resistant to pests. Pests have been the major destroyers of crops in Nigeria but with this now, farmers can be worry-free.

Adoption of modern biotechnology is a giant step of the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of the great efforts to diversify the economy from crude oil to agriculture, and as a means of providing adequate food security for its people as well as ensure the creation of jobs. For a country to have been said to be developed, she must be able to provide enough food for her population. With this technology, more people are ready to invest in agriculture. It has become a money-spinner and those who go into farming will be engaged to employ others to assist in farm work.

Nigeria virtually imports everything including the food we eat. The introduction of modern biotechnology in Nigeria’s agriculture has come to save us, as more farmers using this innovative farming system are encouraged to farm. Adoption of agricultural biotechnology remains a great step in the right direction.

– Rose  is a country Coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Nigeria.

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