This is Why Nigeria Remains a Net Importer of Food
The acting Director General, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Mr. Yarima Ndirpaya, said Nigeria has remained a net importer of food because of application and deployment of crude agricultural technology by the country’s over 70 million farmers.
Ndirpaya who admitted that ARCN has over 10,000 member staff all over the country, said food importation will stop when local productivity has increased to substitute the importation.
He said: “Brazil, Thailand and Indonesian were on the same level with Nigeria before. They made a choice to invest in research and invest the productivity through dissemination. Today they have left us and we can reach that level if we invest more in agricultural research.”
The acting DG who spoke on “Biotechnology, a Modern science of ‘Change’ is a Safe and Sustainable”, in Abuja, acknowledged that Nigeria has the biggest agricultural research network in Africa.
He said: “We employ about 10,000 staff in the agricultural research sector and of this our major task is to improve the productivity of our farmers. The only vehicle that is there for improvement of productivity is basically improved technology and so we are the developer of improved technologies and in this effort we found that the biotechnology is outstanding.
“We are indeed the vehicle through that technology can move to the farmers across the nation. We believe in the power of biotechnology and will continue to support the biotechnology and use it until Nigerian farmers can make the gains that other farmers across have made through biotechnology.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Lucy Ogbadu and his the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) counterpart, Mr. Rufus Ebegaba reasoned that the deployment of modern biotechnology practice through the biosafety law will lead to the diversification of the economy and the answer to the country’s food challenge.
Specifically, Ebegba said the agency is responsible for driving the Act in the safety adoption of modern biotechnology, the deployment and safe use of products of modern biotechnology for national development, adding that proper regulation of imported Genetically Modified Organisms or Products (GMOs), so Nigeria will not be a dumping ground.
According to him, the agency has commenced the monitoring and surveying of all GMOs suspects in the country to ensure that we have a track of them to ensure that standard requirement is met and also to ensure that any one that does not meet our standard we shall prohibit and ensure that they are prohibited.
He said: “The government has taken various steps to ensure that the economy bounces back. We are of the of the dwindling oil prices and government believe so much in using alternative means that we have other products that can generate income into the economy.”
Also in her remark, Ogbadu, explained that the passage of the Biosafety law is a monumental to all scientists in the country who jointly participated in systematically made case for the enactment of the law.
According to her, “Successful operation of the Biosafety law in the country will ensure that Nigeria’s 70 million farmers will begin to reap the significant benefits of modern agricultural biotechnology similar to economic transformation currently being experienced in Brazil, India and Burkina Faso.”
She said Nigeria has commenced a silent revolution towards attaining food sufficiency and agricultural transformation, adding that farmers will witness a reduction in the use of pesticides by 75 per cent, thus reducing exposure to chemicals.