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Jonathan urged to sign biotechnology bill

17 July 2013, 14:03

Lagos - Stakeholders in the Nigerian agricultural sector urged President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the Biosafety Bill to boost food production levels.

Participants at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) seminar held in Lagos warned Nigeria was unlikely to attain its goals of attaining food sufficiency 2015 unless it deployed such biotechnology in the sector.

Analysts are confident if the bill is assented, it would result in significant economic impact on the population through job and wealth creation, eradication of hunger and malnutrition.

This would open opportunities for massive production of food for local consumption and export.

Speaking at the forum, Chairman of the Nigerian Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Professor Bamidele Solomon, said biotechnology was a panacea for food security, economic growth and stability.

"The Nigerian people are becoming more open to the technology and its numerous benefits and applications.

‘‘NABDA would positively respond to national aspirations for food security, job and wealth creation, affordable healthcare delivery and a sustainable  economic environment and working together with AATF has made the fulfilment of this mandate a lot easier.

"The resultant effect has led to unimaginable breakthroughs in the proposed domestication of biotechnology in Africa," he said.

Minister of State for Agriculture, Bukar Tijani, who was a special guest at the forum, supported the adoption of biotechnology.

He commended NABDA for its pioneering role and achievements in the development of sustainable agriculture through the utilization of biotechnology tools such as culture, molecular breeding and genetic engineering.

He was confident biotechnology had the potential to achieve sustainable food production in line with the aims of the transformation agenda of the present administration, which is to ensure food security for all Nigerians.

Nigeria aims to increase food production to 50 million tonnes in the next three years.

The country aims to create 3.5 million new jobs and provide over N300 billion (US$ 2billion) of additional income for local farmers.

- CAJ News


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