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Food security: FG plans release of new BT crops

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…Mulls devt of National Biotech Communication policy

By Emmanuel Elebeke

ABUJA—The Federal Government is to release new Genetically Modified rice, BT rice, BT cassava and other crops soon.

File: Tomato sellers at Mile 12 market

The Coordinator of Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Nigeria, OFAB Nigeria, Dr. Rose Gidado  dropped the hint, weekend, during a capacity building programme for editors and correspondents in Abuja.

She explained that the plan would be realised through the ongoing research findings by Nigerian scientists at the National Biotechnology Development Agency, NABDA in line with federal government’s plan to achieve food sufficiency in the country.

Gidado said NABDA has demonstrated a lot of capacity in new GM crops with the introduction of BT Cotton and BT Cowpea, which took about 10 years of intensive research, adding that it would amount to understatement to say that Nigeria has  capacity in biotechnology.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Bitrus Nabasu has said federal government is taking steps to develop National Biotechnology  Communication policy.

Nabasu said the policy when  put in place will ensure that the Nigerian public is adequately informed about the advances on biotechnology.

The Permanent Secretary, who harped on strong collaboration between media and government said government has embraced modern biotechnology, stating that the technology is here to stay.

“We plan to develop a National Biotechnology Communication policy in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.”

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