Nigerians have been urged to embrace Biotechnology towards ensuring food security and to reduce hunger in the country.
This was part of the submissions by Speakers at a one day strategic and policy dialogue on ‘’enhancing national food security preparedness by applying biotechnology solutions’’, put together by a Civil Society Group ‘Food Avail’ in Abuja on Tuesday.
The event that had in attendance experts in Biotechnology, agriculture, academia and the Media, brought to the fore the challenge of food insufficiency made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, Russian and Ukraine war and recently the flood that ravaged most part of the country.
The Convener and Executive Director of the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, CASER, Mr. Frank Tietie explained that the workshop brought together experts to brainstorm and proffer solutions to food Security through Biotechnology.
Mr. Tietie pointed out that many solutions exist in different sectors and the event was to sensitize the public on the opportunities that abound in biotechnology in the agricultural sector.
‘’from tackling issues of blindness resulting from vitamin A deficiency through improvement in seeds to the provision of vaccines against Covid, biotechnology has proven to be a gift to mankind’’.
‘’As people centred organization, we have chosen to maximize the benefits of biotechnology, particularly in the area of agriculture, given the peculiar challenges of our region’’, he said.
The Lead Presenter at the dialogue, Dr. Andrew Iloh, who spoke on the Biotechnology catalyst for sustainable development, pointed out that emerging diseases like the Covid-19 pandemic would always be there.
Dr. Iloh advised the Government and Nigerians to prepare ahead of such emerging diseases that could affect agriculture and climate change, by embracing science for sustainable development.
Also, a Media expert, Dr. Tope Ojeme, said as the nation triumphed over Covid-19, it has become necessary for Researchers, Scientists and Farmers to apply modern technology for food sufficiency.
For a proponent of Urban Food Horticulture, Wole Abu, there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift for people living in urban areas to use the little space available for planting food crops rather than growing ornamental plants.
Other Participants pledged their support to promoting the development of safe genetically modified organisms for food security.
Reporting by Samuel Adeyinka; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu