Expert: Biotechnology Will Aid Sustainable Agricultural Production

Prof. Benjamin Ubi, the President, (BSN), says the adoption of biotechnology will facilitate sustainable agricultural production in the country.

Ubi made the declaration in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday

He said that the adoption of biotechnology applications was the panacea to the current food challenges facing the country.

“Biotechnology, including genetic engineering and production of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), provides powerful tools for the sustainable development of agriculture, fishery and forestry, as well as meeting the food needs of the population.

“GMOs currently account for about 16 per cent of the world’s crops, particularly crops like soybean, maize, cotton and canola, and there are indications that the growing trend will continue.

“So, we must eat what we grow and grow what we eat. This means we ought to produce more and agricultural biotechnology is a tool for achieving this,’’ he said.

Ubi also pledged the support of the BSN for the efforts of National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) to harness the potential of modern biotechnology.

“BSN, as a stakeholder in biosafety, will continue to support NBMA; we should all be rest assured that no biotechnology product will be imposed on anyone.

“Hunger and peace work hand-in-hand, so lack of hunger consequently promotes peace; therefore, biotechnology and its derivatives should be adopted for the benefit of Nigerians, while maintaining regulatory standards.

“Biotechnology and biosafety stakeholders must, therefore, work in tandem with global bodies because Nigeria is not a pariah nation; we are a responsible and respected member of the global community,’’ he said.

Ubi urged anti-GMO campaigners not to play politics with issues that could engender food security and alleviate poverty, saying that tangible efforts should be made to enhance the availability and affordability of high-quality foods via biotechnology applications.

“I assure all that modern biotechnology had been found to be safe by global certification bodies.

“All the same, informed criticism is good for checks and balances but it should not be allowed to be a clog the wheel of progress,’’ he added.

-Published in PM News Nigeria.  See original article link here.

March for Science goes international

The Cornell Alliance for Science global network is planning to join the March for Science in key international locales on April 22, as well as Washington, D.C., and its home base of Ithaca, NY.

Science allies are organizing marches in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Hawaii, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, London and other places.

Bangladesh

Arif Hossain, a communications officer with the Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership and an Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellow, is organizing the march in Dhaka: “I believe in science, and to me this celebration is an inspiration and impulse to work for better health services, safer living, quality education and an enlightened future. I am marching to let the world know that we are united for science in Bangladesh. We have 160 million people to feed in the changed climate and together we will make a better day with science and innovation.”

Philippines

Marshall “Marlo” Asis, an agricultural journalist and Global Leadership Fellow, is helping to organize the march at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City: “As a historic first, the March for Science will serve as an agent of transformation in uniting Filipinos yearning for change with biotechnology at the heart of the discussion. Indeed for us, silence is no longer an option! It is high time to tell the world that good science intended for the common good must be once and for all accessible to those who need it most — the hungry, the malnourished and the poor.”

Uganda

Clet Wandui Masiga, a conservation biologist, geneticist and Global Leadership Fellow, is co-coordinating the march in Uganda:   “We have those people who know the truth about science, but they are silent. This silence is giving anti-science activists an opportunity to misinform the public. I am therefore going to march to show the world that I support and use science, and people should be allowed to have access to science to make decisions for themselves.”

Mexico

Luis Ventura-Martinez, a biologist on the faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Global Leadership Fellow, is participating in the Mexico City march: “I am for Mexico, and just like what is sadly happening in other developing countries, science is not a priority for our government, which recently reduced the financial support to science. We, the science allies, should show that no one deserves to be forgotten, that the science matters, and that we are here.

“We need to call out for science, because science is not alone. And from across the silence, and from across the world, our voices will be heard. We need to do this not just for the scientists, but for everyone, for all of us.”

Nigeria

Nkechi Isaac, a Nigerian journalist and Global Leadership Fellow, is joining the march in Nigeria:  “At the current population of over 180 million people, Nigeria is faced with the risk of malnutrition and hunger because the conventional method of agriculture can no longer meet up with our demand. Science holds the solution to our food security.

“Science is revolutionary. It holds the key to constant development and improvement for addressing climate change, food shortage and challenges in medicine. The March for Science provides an opportunity for scientists and science supporters to take a stand and highlight the immense benefits available for Nigeria in science.”

Hawaii

Marches are planned on the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai, where Sarah Thompson, coordinator of the Hawaii Alliance for Science, will be participating: “We are united in a love of science, an insatiable curiosity of it.  We know that science is everywhere and affects everyone. We seek to build a grassroots network of like-minded individuals who support science and science-based decision making.”

Remember to pick up your March for Science tee-shirts, social media materials and free downloadable posters at the Alliance for Science store.

-Released by Cornell Alliance for Science Global Network.  See original article link here.

Biotechnology solution to food insecurity

Prof. Benjamin Ubi, the President, Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN), has identified food insecurity as an underlining cause of some of the greatest challenges in the country.

Ubi, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, added that biotechnology would ensure adequate food security in the country.

“We recognise that food security is paramount and biotechnology, the green alternative policy of the government, will achieve its goal of ending hunger, ensuring food security and promoting sustainable agriculture.

“This will also provide a form of economic diversification as it will bring with it a new set of skill requirements and expand job opportunities.

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reinforce this with Goal 2 which seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture since 75 per cent of crop diversity has been lost from farmer’s field,’’ Ubi said.

He also said that better use of agricultural biodiversity could contribute to more nutritious diets, enhanced livelihoods for farming communities and more resilient and sustainable farming system.

“The effects of climate change have had a devastating effect on food security, food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food systems stability.

“And for Nigeria to be food sufficient, we must look to scale, underscoring the need for modern and climate smart agricultural practices.

“We must look to increase investment, including through international cooperation, rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development as well as plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productivity capacity.’’

Ubi said that the practice of safe modern biotechnology should be encouraged to ensure zero hunger by welcoming technology that would provide safe and adequate food for Nigerians.

He, therefore, implored stakeholders to put more efforts in developing the country’s local resources to meet agriculture demands both at local and international trade platforms.

-Published in The Guardian.  See original article link here.