Scientists Call For Commercialization Of GM Seeds In Nigeria

The Association of Seed Scientists of Nigeria (ASSN) has called for speedy commercialization of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds to increase agricultural productivity and promote sustainable development of the country.

The seed scientists made this call during their fourth annual conference held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).

They also urged government to make available GM seeds to the Nigerian farmers for improved productivity in farm yields, while further calling on the Federal Government to speed up commercialization of GM seeds as well as step up awareness and sensitization campaigns on the potential of the biotechnology in enhancing seed quality in the country.

In her address, Professor Dupe Akintobi, the president of ASSN, explained that seed is the gem of every plant life and a major agricultural requirement that determines productivity.

Akintobi underscored the need for the use of quality seeds in modern agricultural practices, adding that quality seeds determine the benchmark or upper limit of the effectiveness of other agricultural inputs.

According to her, “The use of quality seeds is now paramount if Nigeria wants to feed her growing population.”

Philip Ojo, the Director General of National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), who was represented by a director at the council, stressed the need for increased adoption of seeds with enhanced genetic make-up to improve productivity for farmers.

In her presentation, Rose Gidado, Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), contended that despite some arguments against the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), many farmers across the world had benefited immensely from its use, noting that Nigeria should not be left behind in its adoption.

Gidado, represented by Modesta Abugu, enumerated some of the benefits of GM crops to include their resistance to insects, pests, diseases, weeds, tolerance to drought and improved nutrition.

In her presentation on ‘GMO Seeds: Issues and Future Gains’, Gidado pointed out that GM technology, although not a silver bullet, was a very important tool for agricultural revolution and achievement of food security in Nigeria.

Written by Chibuzor Emejor in Independent.ng. See original article link here.