Following the impact of COVID-19 and banditry activities in the country, some stakeholders in the agriculture sector and scientists have advocated the use of biotechnology to be deployed to scale up food production in the country.
Some of the stakeholders made it known during a webinar session tagged: “Media Summit on Status of Agricultural Biotechnology Research in Nigeria”, in a statement by the organisers – National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).
The National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Kabir Ibrahim said it was imperative to explore the option of the use of innovation to upscale food production to bring about food sufficiency to avert hunger due to the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, emphasised on the need to sensitise smallholder farmers to embrace technological advancement to avert hunger caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying to achieve food security modern technologies such as biotechnology must be used.
“Already, a lot of work has been going on to commercialise cowpea, maize, cassava, rice, sorghum as well as cotton and the farmers are seeing good results so it is, therefore, easy to get them to embrace biotechnology,” he said.
The Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr Rose Gidado said the application of efforts would encourage stakeholders to participate in the science-based decision.
She said that this move was crucial and necessary for the acceptance and adoption of innovative technology.
Gidado said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of zero hunger by 2030 was fundamental for national development and well being of Nigeria, adding that the facilitation of adequate understanding of the several ways Nigeria to achieve the goal “is very fundamental”.
She said that with the current population of over 200 million people and projected population of 400 million people by 2050, an outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria is faced with the risk of the decreased farming population due to age, decreased arable land, poverty, malnutrition and hunger.
She said that agricultural biotechnology was the solution to Nigeria’s food security. She also said the conventional method of agriculture could no longer meet up with the country’s demand.
“With the current state of agriculture in Nigeria, it has become paramount to also adopt this technology to improve our productivity and revive our industries.”
“The time is now, let us sensitise people on the potential of this innovation to aid decision making and adoption in Nigeria.”
The Acting Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpa harped on the importance of biotechnology application for the benefits of man, especially in the areas of health, agriculture and environment.
“Biotechnology has other applications; in agriculture, it is massive and that is where most post-COVID-19 is coming, you find out that here in NABDA, using Biotechnology we have started impacting massively in the area of agriculture.
“For instance, in our yam multiplication programme, last year, we were able to produce one million yam seedlings and this year, we are targeting five million yam seedlings, all these things are feasible because of biotechnology,” he said.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)https://nnn.ng/afan-ofab-nabda-advocate-use-of-biotechnology-to-scale-up-food-production/
FG seeks collaboration with Agric stakeholders to curb post-harvest losses
The Federal Government on Saturday urged stakeholders in the Agricultural Sector to collaborate with governments at all levels to minimise the incidence of post-harvest losses of farm produce being recorded in the country.
Dr Muazu AbdulKadir, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the call in llorin, the Kwara capital, when he paid a visit to the Nigerian Stored Products Research institute (NSPRl), llorin.
AbdulKadir, while addressing the management of NSPRl, noted that Nigeria was losing billions of naira annually to post harvest losses of various farm produce due to lack of well-equipped storage facilities.
“Over sixty per cent of tomatoes, onions, cashew, mangoes, oranges and water melon, among others harvested in Nigeria are lost after harvesting.
“The Federal Government is working round the clock to address the problem, to allow the country maintain food sufficiency.
“I, hereby, call on stakeholders in the Agricultural Sector to collaborate with the government by coming up with modern scientific approaches on curbing post-harvest losses.’’
AbdulKadir praised the foresight of NSPRl in the preservation of farm produce, fabrication of farm implements, storage facilities and ensuring reduction of post-harvest losses of farm produce, as a priority.
He said the Ministry would continue to give necessary assistance within the available resources to NSPRl, to meet its mandate in farm produce storage and other agricultural activities.
The Executive Director of NSPRl, Dr Patricia Pessu, in her remarks, told the permanent secretary of several interventions currently being embarked upon by the institute, aimed at curbing post-harvest losses of farm produce.
Pessu appealed to the Ministry to assist the institute in the realisation of its objective at curbing post-harvest losses, to create employment for the teeming unemployed, and further boost the national economy.
She called on the Federal Government to allow NSPRl be represented in the intervention committee related to food security.
The NSPRI boss requested that the Ministry give intellectual property rights to agricultural researchers, as a way of encouraging them to do more at ensuring food preservation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the permanent secretary later inspected the laboratories of the institute and its fabricated farm implements with storage faculties.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Idonije Obakhedo
Lawyer advocates leadership training for youths
An Ilorin based legal practitioner, Mr Suleiman Ahmed, has advocated the need for the training of youths on leadership skills to help reposition Nigeria’s future.
Ahmed, who spoke in Ilorin on Saturday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , agreed that youth’s development remain critic in nation building.
He said it has become necessary for Nigeria youths to be equipped with leadership skills in order to do things differently from the past.
“Bad leadership in the past has put Nigeria in a serious mess. Our youths should be shown the way to manage the God’s given abundant resources at hand.
“Nigeria is blessed, but we have people in the past, who lacked those leadership skills in the corridors of power.
“With proper orientation and leadership training for the youths, we can get it right and place the country on the right path.
“We cannot afford to make the same mistakes of our past leaders. We cannot claim to be giant of Africa and see our people dying of hunger and poverty,”he said.
The legal practitioner however called on NGOs and the three tiers of governments to ensure leadership training were organised for the youths.
He advised that the future of the country is at stake if the youths are left out and not well prepared and equipped for leadership position.
“We cannot allow the youths to emulate the past trend. We want them to do things differently and safe the future of the country,”he said.
He also advised Nigerian leaders to stop being selfish, show love and care for the people for them to be proud of their country.
3-storey school building collapses in Lagos
A three-storey building of the Excell College, a private school in Ejigbo, Lagos, collapsed on Saturday, two days to reopening of secondary and private schools in the state.
The building is located at No. 15, Ansarudeen St., by Ile Epo Bus stop, Iyana Ejigbo.
Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions re-opened on Sept. 14.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, told newsmen that no person was trapped in the collapsed building.
He noted that the school had been under lock and key since March due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions.
According to the LASEMA director-general, the building, which collapsed at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, is part of a conjoined (twin) three-storey building.
He said that the collapse was attributable to “visible distress”, adding that the collapsed portion affected the second wing, as shown by visible cracks on the walls, pillars and decking of the second portion.
“Distress calls received established that the building collapsed at about 8:15a.m.
“Information gathered from some officials of the school revealed that the building had previously shown signs of distress and the school was planning to renovate and refortify the structure.
“The three-storey building has two wings; the wing that collapsed seriously affected the second wing, as visible cracks can be seen on the walls, pillars and decking.
“Fortunately, nobody was trapped.
“Responders to the incident are LASEMA, Lagos State Building Collapse Agency and the police,” he said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola
Edo poll: Gov. Obaseki faults INEC preparations
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, said he expected better preparations from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the Saturday’s governorship poll, after queueing for over an hour before voting.
Obaseki, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the election, stated this, shortly after he cast his vote at 11:48a.m, having joinied the queue for hand washing at 10:24a.m.
According to him, to wait for one and half hours on the queue before exercising his franchise is a bit disappointing.
“Given that this is a sole day election, I expected a bit more planning and preparation, and resources should have been put into this election.
“During the last presidential election in my polling unit, there were two polling points which helped the body on voters. You all are witnesses of how long this has taken.
“The card reader is working very slowly, and this is the situation in all the major voting centers in Oredo Local Government Area of the state as I speak.
“In Garrick Memorial Secondary School, I understand that over 500 voters are already stranded because they can’t vote because of the slow processing of the card readers.
“One would have expected that INEC will have deployed more card readers and more voting points in highly numbered polling centers,” he said.
On the issue of vote buying at polling units, the governor said that the security agencies were not doing what they assured Edo people and Nigerians of, before the election.
“The security agencies assured us that they won’t allow anybody who don’t have business of voting in a particular place to be there, but they are working on the contrary to what they promised us.
“You can see cars parked with a lot of cash being disbursed to people and it seems to be normal practice, but we are not perturbed. People know what to do; cash can’t buy their future,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta