The Federal government plans to revive Nigeria’s comatose textile industry, leveraging on the biotechnology (BT) cotton, which is already being developed and still at on-station trial at the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Abuja.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was on inspection tour of the BT cotton on station trial, gave this hint in Abuja.
The minister said he was delight over the introduction of the BT cotton in Nigeria, saying it was a good development for the country ‘s comatose textile industry.
He also applauded all the stakeholders who had made commitments to the development of the technology.
“Introduction of BT cotton can result to the revival of the textile industry. It would be a great achievement for the country. The textile industry, which was one of the country’s most important sectors of the economy is dead,” he said.
“I am happy with what I have seen today, BT cotton stakeholders can talk about BT cotton in the country now. You can yell loud about BT cotton.”
In the same vein, a food scientist and Head of the Department of Food Technology, University of Ibadan, Prof. Charlse Awor, has urged the government to take agric biotechnology with seriousness, saying the food security, which the country is yearning for may not be feasible without leveraging on the opportunities provided by biotechnology.
He stated that the challenge Nigeria has is that those who are talking about agriculture biotechnology know little or nothing about it, and are going about to propound and spread negative side of what they do not understand.
Awor said that agric biotechnology was crucial to the food sufficiency and security drive of the government.
According to him, several countries have taken advantage of the technology, and therefore Nigeria should not be an exception.
He, however, urged the government to ensure strict regulation to avoid people taking advantage of it to create a monster that will be difficult to control.
“Am a scientist, I studied the field and the problem is that those who talk about agricultural biotechnology very often know very little about it. As you have heard from the presentation, there is no technology that does not have challenges, you should expect challenges, but the critical thing is your deletion, the industry must be regulated, this is what has been done in US, India and some of these countries that are already reaping the benefit of the technology. My concern is that we are yet to put down that regulatory framework to avoid abuses. Sincerely, there is no evidence that biotechnology products are unfit for human consumption, but that does not mean that we cannot get into a situation where people now begin to exploit the technology to create monster, and that is the fear.
“So we must be sure that people don’t begin to crest monster that we will not be able to control with mixing of genes. When there is regulation and we know what we start for, like in cassava, which is a valuable crop, we know it is low in nutrient, so with biotechnology we have been able to get some vitamins that will help solve,” he added.
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