…As OFAB assures full commercialisation of BT Cotton in 2020
By Gabriel Ewepu
MEMBERS of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, have promised to make a law to back up the Growth Enhancement Support, GES, to boost farmers’ access to quality inputs to improve food production and security.
This was disclosed by Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Monguno represented by a member of the Committee, Munir Danagundi, at the 2nd Edition of SEEDCONNECT Africa Conference & Exhibition 2019, held in Abuja, with countries from West Africa in attendance and many development partners, seed companies and farmers.
GES was introduced by former President Goodluck Jonathan through the then Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, to boost farmers’ access to fertilisers, seeds, agro-chemicals, nets, and others, which impacted on food production, employment generation and wealth creation, but was not continued by the Buhari-led administration.
Danagundi said: “We are very conscious of the importance attached to the seed subsector. We can assure you that Nigeria will continue to do her bidding as the biggest economy in Africa so that we can have better seed industry in terms of laws and other areas promoting the industry in our sub-region.
“I understand that the market is so huge that we can harness and have regulations that will allow us to have free trade in the sub-region.
“On the part of the National Assembly, we want to assure you of our support to make sure that we do our best to make laws that will promote the seed industry and agriculture.
“At the National Assembly, we shall look at the option of the GES so that we can have laws with GES as a case study to tackle the issue of Agric inputs for our teeming farmers. Immediately we are in the 9th Assembly, we want everybody to help us with all necessary support in terms of having law backing GES, to serve our farmers.”
Meanwhile, the Country Coordinator, Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology, OFAB Nigeria, Dr Rose Gidado, at the conference, said farmers would have access to BT Cotton after full commercialisation in 2020, following approval in 2018.
“We are going to train them on how to produce hybrid seeds and also train the extension workers so by 2020, there is going to be full commercialisation of this, but we are training farmers on how they can have access to it,” Gidado said.