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  •  Merck Foundation www Merck Foundation com the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched the seventh episode of its TV show Our Africa by Merck Foundation at 2 pm on Sunday June 26 2022 on GHOne Ghana repeated at 1 30 p m Monday June 27 2022 The rest of the 15 episodes will air on GH One TV hellip
    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Seventh Episode now on GH One TV Ghana, NTV Uganda and KTN, Kenya
     Merck Foundation www Merck Foundation com the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched the seventh episode of its TV show Our Africa by Merck Foundation at 2 pm on Sunday June 26 2022 on GHOne Ghana repeated at 1 30 p m Monday June 27 2022 The rest of the 15 episodes will air on GH One TV hellip
    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Seventh Episode now on GH One TV Ghana, NTV Uganda and KTN, Kenya
    Africa6 days ago

    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Seventh Episode now on GH One TV Ghana, NTV Uganda and KTN, Kenya

    Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, launched the seventh episode of its TV show: "Our Africa by Merck Foundation" at 2 pm on Sunday, June 26, 2022 on GHOne , Ghana, repeated at 1:30 p.m. Monday; June 27, 2022. The rest of the 15 episodes will air on GH One TV Ghana every Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and repeat every Monday at 1:30 p.m.

    The TV show is also broadcast on KTN, Kenya and NTV, Uganda, and published on all of the Merck Foundation's social media channels as well as KTN, NTV, and GH One TV.

    The Seventh Episode addressed the current global Coronavirus Health Awareness pandemic. Previous episodes of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” have covered topics such as preventing diabetes, breaking the stigma of infertility, supporting girls' education, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and ending female genital mutilation ( FGM). The TV show has received a phenomenal response from viewers as well as social media followers.

    Check out the Seventh Episode promo here: https://bit.ly/3NBx1OO

    Watch the Seventh Episode here: https://bit.ly/3AjsPAf

    'Our Africa by Merck Foundation' is a pan-African television program conceptualized, produced, directed and co-hosted by Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of the Merck Foundation, featuring African fashion designers, singers and leading experts from various domains with the goal of raising awareness and creating cultural change in Africa. The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda.

    Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, Executive Director of the Merck Foundation said: “First of all, I would like to thank the audience for their continued positive and encouraging response to 'Our Africa of the Merck Foundation.' We have also received an incredible response on our social media from audiences all over the world, this is very encouraging and makes me very happy. The seventh episode of the television show addresses the global coronavirus pandemic that we have been facing for more than two years. We have all experienced changes in our lives brought about by the pandemic. Therefore, this episode advocates for coronavirus health awareness. We have also tried to address the social impact of this pandemic on our communities through this episode."

    “Through 'Our Africa by Merck Foundation', we aim to raise awareness, be a voice for the voiceless and break the silence on many health and social issues in Africa through 'Fashion and Art with Purpose' . I firmly believe that media, fashion and art should have a purpose beyond entertainment and look good, and can raise awareness on issues like diabetes awareness, breaking the stigma of infertility, ending child marriage, stopping female genital mutilation, stop gender-based violence, support girls' education and women's empowerment. among other social and health problems that affect the continent. Together we can create cultural change,” added Senator Dr. Rasha.

    The show airs on the following TV channels:

    - Every Saturday at 5:30 pm (EAT) on KTN, Kenya; runs again on Wednesday at 6:30 am (EAT)

    - Every Sunday at 6:30 pm (EAT) on NTV Uganda; repeats Thursday at 4:00 pm (EAT)

    - Every Sunday at 2 pm on (GMT) GH One TV, Ghana; runs again on Monday at 1:30 pm (GMT)

    Watch the promotion of 'Our Africa by the Merck Foundation' here: https://bit.ly/3Ow5kbj

    The seventh episode featured designs by Gabriel Froid and Kinneh Mbenga, young designers from Mauritius and Gambia, respectively. Cwezi, a popular singer from Ghana, and Teenusha Soobrah, a nutritionist from Mauritius also appeared in this episode.

    The show also features "My White Army", a pan-African song, which has been produced and directed by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, as her personal contribution to thank the doctors and nurses who are fighting on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus, who are at risk of being exposed to the virus so that everyone else can stay home and stay healthy. Featuring singers from 11 African countries in three languages: Arabic, English and French, the song has been widely appreciated across the continent.

    "I am very proud to have been able to coordinate, direct and produce this song as a gesture of support in 11 African countries through the 11 talented singers in three languages ​​Arabic, English and French. They have incredible voices and great diversity, they are from countries from North, South, East and West Africa. This coordination was very difficult, especially during the lockdown, but everyone cooperated a lot and we managed to put together a brilliant and moving song." Senator Rasha Kelej explained.

    Watch, share and subscribe to the song "My White Army" here: https://bit.ly/3OTvAw8

    Additionally, the Merck Foundation led the way in responding to the coronavirus pandemic in partnership with 20 African first ladies. Their focus has been on four main areas: community support, health care capacity building, community awareness through media awards, and community awareness for children and youth.

    The Merck Foundation has partnered with the African First Ladies to support the livelihood of thousands of women and casual workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Foundation initiated the Coronavirus Response Program to improve healthcare capacity by providing African doctors with a one-year online Diploma, a two-year Master's Degree in Respiratory Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Resuscitation, Acute Medicine, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and Critical Care. So far, the Merck Foundation has awarded 131 fellowships to physicians from more than 23 countries through its Coronavirus Response Program. The Merck Foundation also announced the "Stay Home" and "Mask Carefully" Media Recognition Awards for the media and the "Make Your Own Mask" Fashion Awards for the fashion community, with the aim of separating the facts from myths and misconceptions, raise awareness on how to adapt the best protection measures, such as wearing your masks to show that you care and love your family and community; to encourage your community to choose to get vaccinated and raise awareness to support healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID 19 pandemic. To raise awareness of the pandemic among children and youth, the Merck Foundation released an inspiring storybook" Make the Right Choice" in partnership with African First Ladies to sensitize children and youth about the coronavirus.

    Read the Make the Right Choice storybook, here: https://bit.ly/3nt11Sk

    “This episode of 'Our Africa by Merck Foundation' has been very relevant as we are still dealing with the coronavirus crisis in some parts of the world. So, stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands with soap and water often, wear masks, and visit your doctor in case you appear to have any symptoms of coronavirus,” added Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej.

    “I am very excited to bring you all the upcoming episodes of the television show 'OUR AFRICA by Merck Foundation.' So stay connected and get ready to be informed, stay healthy and be entertained!” concluded Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej.

    Watch episode 1 here: https://bit.ly/3a15rwC

    Watch episode 2 here: https://bit.ly/3QY6deB

    Watch episode 3 here: https://bit.ly/3bF4R8o

    Watch episode 4 here: https://bit.ly/3uduCD8

    Watch episode 5 here: https://bit.ly/3I4Y8k9

    Watch episode 6 here: https://bit.ly/3ns87GN

  •  Merck Foundation https Merck Foundation com the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched the sixth episode of its TV show Our Africa by Merck Foundation at 2 pm on Sunday June 19 2022 on GHOne Ghana repeated at 1 30 p m Monday on June 20 The rest of the 15 episodes will air on GHOne TV Ghana every hellip
    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Sixth Episode now on GHOne TV Ghana and Social Media #STOPFGM
     Merck Foundation https Merck Foundation com the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched the sixth episode of its TV show Our Africa by Merck Foundation at 2 pm on Sunday June 19 2022 on GHOne Ghana repeated at 1 30 p m Monday on June 20 The rest of the 15 episodes will air on GHOne TV Ghana every hellip
    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Sixth Episode now on GHOne TV Ghana and Social Media #STOPFGM
    Africa2 weeks ago

    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Sixth Episode now on GHOne TV Ghana and Social Media #STOPFGM

    Merck Foundation (https://Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, launched the sixth episode of its TV show: 'Our Africa by Merck Foundation' at 2 pm on Sunday, June 19, 2022 on GHOne, Ghana, repeated at 1:30 p.m. Monday; on June 20. The rest of the 15 episodes will air on GHOne TV Ghana every Sunday at 2pm and repeat every Monday at 1:30pm.

    The TV show is also broadcast on KTN, Kenya and NTV, Uganda, and is also published on all of the Merck Foundation's social media channels and on KTN, NTV, and GHOne TV.

    The Sixth episode addressed a sensitive issue for African communities: End Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Previous episodes of the show have addressed diabetes prevention and early detection, breaking down the stigma of infertility, supporting girls' education, and the importance of promoting a healthy lifestyle, respectively. The TV show has been receiving phenomenal reviews from viewers of these channels as well as social media followers in Africa and beyond.

    Watch the Sixth Episode promo here: (https://bit.ly/3HP0L9v) Watch the Sixth Episode here: (https://bit.ly/3zWgguD)

    'Our Africa by Merck Foundation' is a pan-African television show conceptualized, produced, directed and co-hosted by Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of the Merck Foundation, featuring African fashion designers, singers and leading experts from various domains with the goal of raising awareness and creating cultural change in Africa. The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda.

    Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, Executive Director of the Merck Foundation said: “I am overwhelmed by the incredible response we have received so far for the Merck Foundation's 'Our Africa' TV show. I thank all of you who reached out to us on our social media platforms, appreciating our efforts and asking us questions about different interventions, songs, movies, and videos that you can use on your platforms and communities to break the silence and build advocacy. . All of this is very encouraging. We have now published the sixth episode of 'Our Africa by Merck Foundation' which opens a dialogue on the harmful effects of FGM and support for girls' education”.

    “We must be aware that FGM has no health benefits, it only harms girls and women physically and psychologically. FGM can also cause serious medical complications in women, such as infertility, as infection due to FGM is one of the main causes of infertility. FGM also increases the risk of HIV transmission and can cause serious complications during childbirth. We must understand that FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. This practice must be stopped immediately. Empowering girls with the right education is the only solution to these age norms that also promote gender inequality.” She added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

    The show airs on the following TV channels:

    - Every Saturday at 5:30 pm (EAT) on KTN, Kenya; re-run Wednesday at 6:30am (EAT) - Every Sunday at 6:30pm (EAT) on NTV Uganda; broadcast Thursday at 4:00 pm (EAT) - Every Sunday at 2 pm on (GMT) GH One TV, Ghana; rerun Monday at 1:30 pm (GMT)

    Watch the promotion of 'Our Africa by the Merck Foundation' here: (https://bit.ly/3NcNY1P)

    The sixth episode of 'Our Africa by Merck Foundation' featured popular singer Kenneth Mugabi from Uganda. The singer performed a new song created to support Girl Education during the episode. Senegalese fashion designers: Safietou Seck and Aicha Fatou Gaye also appeared in this episode and showcased their designs that delivered strong and relevant messages on how to stop FGM.

    FGM comprises a procedure that consists of altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights, health and integrity of girls and women. Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications, such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections and difficulty urinating, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health . Although mainly concentrated in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, female genital mutilation is a universal problem and is also practiced in some countries in Asia and Latin America.

    “I strongly believe that education is one of the most critical areas of women's empowerment and will definitely help stop practices like FGM that benefit no one. Through our "Educating Linda" program, we support underprivileged but brilliant young girls to continue their education, from many African countries. The spirit of the project is to provide an opportunity for these girls to pursue their dreams and reach their potential through access to education. The Merck Foundation has published many inspiring children's storybooks and songs to support girls' education,” Senator Kelej emphasized.

    1. Watch, share and subscribe to the song “Girl Can” here, sung by two famous singers, Irene and Cwezi from Liberia and Ghana respectively: (https://bit.ly/3yeRQep) 2. Watch, share and subscribe to “Tu Podes Sim”, Portuguese song, which means “Yes, You Can” in English, here, sung by two famous singers, Blaze and Tamyris Moiane, talented singers from Mozambique: (https://bit.ly/3n87DWh) 3 . Read Educating Linda Storybook here: (https://bit.ly/3NhWwEP) 4. Read Ride into the Future Storybook here: (https://bit.ly/3OCAde4) 5. Read Jackline's Rescue Storybook here: (https: // bit.ly/3nbxo81)

    Senator Dr. Rasha further emphasized: “We have also launched awards for media, fashion designers, filmmakers, musicians/singers and potential new talents in these fields from African countries to address the sensitive issue of Ending FGM, and other topics as well. such as Breaking the Stigma of Infertility, Supporting Girls' Education, Empowering Women, Ending Child Marriage and/or Stopping Gender Based Violence. We are organizing these pageants in association with my dear sisters, the African First Ladies. I am excited and eager to receive applications at submit@merck-foundation.com.”

    “I am very excited to bring you all the upcoming episodes of the television show 'OUR AFRICA by Merck Foundation.' So stay connected and get ready to get informed, stay healthy and be entertained!” concluded Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej.

    Watch Episode 1 here: (https://bit.ly/3Q8UPw0) Watch Episode 2 here: (https://bit.ly/39gGAoi) Watch Episode 3 here: (https://bit.ly/3NzWdG6 ) Watch Episode 4 here: (https://bit.ly/3NZst5s) Watch Episode 5 here: (https://bit.ly/3MyEeif

  •  At a time when responding to health challenges is of paramount importance AFRICA COM is hosting a hybrid event that looks at ways to promote health science and technology innovation in Africa while highlighting how innovation can remove the barriers faced by African women and girls The discussion features Melinda French Gates co chair of the Bill hellip
    AFRICA.COM Hybrid Event with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Melinda French Gates
     At a time when responding to health challenges is of paramount importance AFRICA COM is hosting a hybrid event that looks at ways to promote health science and technology innovation in Africa while highlighting how innovation can remove the barriers faced by African women and girls The discussion features Melinda French Gates co chair of the Bill hellip
    AFRICA.COM Hybrid Event with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Melinda French Gates
    Africa3 weeks ago

    AFRICA.COM Hybrid Event with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Melinda French Gates

    At a time when responding to health challenges is of paramount importance, AFRICA.COM is hosting a hybrid event that looks at ways to promote health, science and technology innovation in Africa, while highlighting how innovation can remove the barriers faced by African women and girls.

    The discussion features Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author. They will be joined by a panel of women making an impact on health, innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development, including Dr. Shivon Byamukama, CEO of Babyl Rwanda and Dr. Corine Karema, former Director of the National Program Rwanda Malaria Control.

    On the sidelines of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda and the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, the hybrid event is an opportunity for audiences from Africa and the diaspora to join the conversation. The 45-minute panel discussion will be moderated by Kenyan author and media personality Janet Mbugua, while the virtual audience will be led by Africa.com President and CEO Teresa Clarke.

    The event will take place on Thursday, June 23.

    Free registration is open to the public at this link: https://bit.ly/3y0WoVG

  •  Merck Foundation https Merck Foundation com the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched the 9th episode of its TV show Our Africa by Merck Foundation on Saturday June 11 2022 on KTN Kenya on repeat on Wednesday and Sunday June 12 on NTV Uganda repeated on Thursday The TV show is also broadcast on GH One TV hellip
    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Ninth Episode now on KTN, NTV, and Social Media
     Merck Foundation https Merck Foundation com the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched the 9th episode of its TV show Our Africa by Merck Foundation on Saturday June 11 2022 on KTN Kenya on repeat on Wednesday and Sunday June 12 on NTV Uganda repeated on Thursday The TV show is also broadcast on GH One TV hellip
    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Ninth Episode now on KTN, NTV, and Social Media
    Africa3 weeks ago

    “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” Ninth Episode now on KTN, NTV, and Social Media

    Merck Foundation (https://Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched the 9th episode of its TV show "Our Africa by Merck Foundation" on Saturday, June 11, 2022 on KTN, Kenya, on repeat on Wednesday and Sunday June 12 on NTV, Uganda, repeated on Thursday. The TV show is also broadcast on GH One TV in Ghana, every Sunday, repeats every Monday, and repeats on Mondays at 2pm.

    The ninth episode of "Our Africa from the Merck Foundation" addresses an important topic of "Stop Gender Based Violence (GBV)", the impact of this issue on communities and the need to address this issue. Previous episodes of the show have addressed the importance of early detection and prevention of diabetes, breaking the stigma of infertility, supporting girls' education, promoting a healthy lifestyle, ending female genital mutilation (FGM) , coronavirus health awareness and sustainability and recycled fashion. respectively. The TV show has received rave reviews from viewers in all three countries and from social media followers in Africa and beyond.

    Watch the Ninth Episode promo here: (https://bit.ly/3MUxgnO) Watch the Ninth Episode here: (https://bit.ly/3aVDI0r)

    'Our Africa by Merck Foundation' is a pan-African television program conceptualized, produced, directed and co-hosted by Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of the Merck Foundation, featuring African fashion designers, singers and leading experts from various domains with the goal of raising awareness and creating cultural change in Africa. The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda.

    Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, Executive Director of the Merck Foundation said: “The response to the television program 'Our Africa of the Merck Foundation' has been very positive and overwhelming. I am very happy that the TV show was informative and entertaining at the same time. Now, we bring you the ninth episode that focuses on the theme of 'Stop gender-based violence'. Gender-based violence is the most pervasive but least visible human rights violation in the world. Gender-based violence affects 1 in 3 women throughout their lives, worldwide.

    “We address this sensitive topic through our 'Fashion and Art with a Purpose' community. I really admire art and fashion in Africa and I strongly believe that fashion and art should have a purpose beyond entertainment and looking good. They can help to be the voice of the voiceless and raise awareness in our communities. Through our program we want to reach out to youth and other members of urban and rural communities across the continent to address and raise awareness of a wide range of pressing health and social issues that are relevant to Africa, such as; Stop gender-based violence, break the stigma of infertility, end child marriage, support girls' education, end female genital mutilation (FGM), promote a healthy lifestyle, prevent and control diabetes and coronavirus health awareness and more,” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

    The show airs on: The show airs on the following TV channels:

    - Every Saturday at 5:30 pm (EAT) on KTN, Kenya; re-run Wednesday at 6:30am (EAT) - Every Sunday at 6:30pm (EAT) on NTV Uganda; broadcast Thursday at 4:00 pm (EAT) - Every Sunday at 2 pm on (GMT) GH One TV, Ghana; rerun Monday at 1:30 pm (GMT)

    Watch the promotion of 'Our Africa by the Merck Foundation' here: (https://bit.ly/3NZZ4s)

    While gender-based violence (GBV) is not a problem unique to Africa, there is no doubt that the magnitude of the problem persists more severely on the continent than in other parts of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 2013, 35% of women worldwide had experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. By contrast, 45.6% of women over the age of 15 in Africa have experienced the same.

    This high incidence of gender-based violence in Africa can be correlated with low levels of education, exposure to violence elsewhere, patriarchal systems, attitudes that accept violence and gender inequality, and low access to information.

    In societies where justice is rarely achieved, awareness of women's rights is limited, and exposure to violence is constant, the task of reducing GBV remains paramount.

    The ninth episode of "Our Africa by Merck Foundation" features GHONE TV TV host and style coach Nancy, who shared tips on how to use fashion to build confidence in women. The episode also featured talented young designers Gaone Mangogola from Botswana and Stephany – Lee Schmidt from Namibia, who shared their designs displaying STOP GBV messages.

    Senator Dr. Rasha further emphasized: “We have also launched awards for media, fashion designers, filmmakers, musicians/singers, and potential new talents in these fields from African countries to address the sensitive issue of stopping gender-based violence, and also others. Topics such as Breaking the Stigma of Infertility, Supporting Girls' Education, Empowering Women, Ending Child Marriage and/or Ending Female Genital Mutilation. We are organizing these pageants in association with my dear sisters, the African First Ladies. I am excited and eager to receive applications at submit@merck-foundation.com.”

    “I am very excited to bring you all the upcoming episodes of the television show 'OUR AFRICA by Merck Foundation.' So stay tuned and get ready to get informed, stay healthy and be entertained!” concluded Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej.

    Watch Episode 1 here: (https://bit.ly/3Q8UPw0) Watch Episode 2 here: (https://bit.ly/39gGAoi) Watch Episode 3 here: (https://bit.ly/3NzWdG6 ) Watch Episode 4 here: (https://bit.ly/3NZst5s)Watch Episode 5 here: (https://bit.ly/3MyEeif)Watch Episode 6 here: (https://bit.ly/ 3mp8t0t)Watch episode 7 here: (https://bit.ly/3aFMHTh)Watch episode 8 here: (https://bit.ly/3b7Zs9J)

  •  Boosting Nigeria s food production capacity via biotechnology genomics Boosting Nigeria s food production capacity via biotechnology genomics By Sylvester Thompson News Agency of Nigeria Statistics from World Population Review shows that Nigeria population is growing at the rate of 2 57 per cent It projected that the overall population of Nigeria will reach about 401 31 million by hellip
    Boosting Nigeria’s food production capacity via biotechnology, genomics
     Boosting Nigeria s food production capacity via biotechnology genomics Boosting Nigeria s food production capacity via biotechnology genomics By Sylvester Thompson News Agency of Nigeria Statistics from World Population Review shows that Nigeria population is growing at the rate of 2 57 per cent It projected that the overall population of Nigeria will reach about 401 31 million by hellip
    Boosting Nigeria’s food production capacity via biotechnology, genomics
    Features3 weeks ago

    Boosting Nigeria’s food production capacity via biotechnology, genomics

    Boosting Nigeria’s food production capacity via biotechnology, genomics

    Boosting Nigeria’s food production capacity via biotechnology, genomics

    By Sylvester Thompson, News Agency of Nigeria

    Statistics from World Population Review shows that Nigeria population is growing at the rate of 2.57 per cent. It projected that the overall population of Nigeria will reach about 401.31 million by 2050.

    This projected increase in the Nigerian population necessitated the move to increase food production in order to meet the demands of both man and livestock via biotechnology and genomics.

    Agricultural biotechnology includes a range of tools that scientists deploy to understand and manipulate the genetic make-up of organisms for use in the production or processing of agricultural products, while genomics is the study of an organism’s genome, its genetic material and how that information is applied.

    John Komen, in his presentation at African Biennial Bioscience Communication (ABBC 2021) on “Global and Africa Policy and Regulatory Perspectives of Genome Editing,’’ outlined the power of modern agricultural biotechnology and genomics in transforming African food systems.

    Komen said that the ability of agricultural biotechnology and genomics in transforming African food systems into a force of economic growth, create wealth in the rural space and beyond, feed an African population expected to reach 2.2 billion people by 2050 could not be ignored.

    He said that biotechnology, including improved breeds and varieties, was not widely embraced across Africa, and was inadequately addressed in food production policy frameworks.

    FACTORS INFLUENCING AGRIBIOTECH ADOPTION AND DEVELOPMENT IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

    Source-Science Direct

    The establishment of the National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA) and its recent 2022 Act, showed that the Nigerian government had taken a big leap in demonstrating  willingness to improve  food production and drive towards transforming the country’s food systems via application of modern agricultural biotechnology and genomics.

    Unarguably, the Nigerian government believes that safe modern biotechnology application can proffer solutions and offer great potential in the agricultural and other sectors of the economy.

    The National Biosafety Management Agency Act, 2015 (as amended) was set up  to entrench legal, regulatory, and administrative mechanisms in the safe application of modern biotechnology and the use of its products, genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Dr Rufus  Ebegba, Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency(NBMA), who spoke at a sensitisation workshop on modern biotechnology and biosafety regulations organised by OFAB for Board Members of the NABDA, hinted on the need for safety concerns.

    He said biosafety was a means of addressing potential adverse impacts of modern technology and GMOs, particularly in the areas of gene flow, invasiveness, non-target effect, allergenicity, toxicity and socio-economic concerns.

    Nigeria has embraced genetic modification and engineering, as the country is among the six African counties leading in adoption of genetically modified crops.

    Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director General of the NABDA, who recently spoke on pod borer resistant, highlighted the gains recorded through the application of modern agricultural biotechnology.

    “Biotechnology has proven its potential to help us overcome agricultural productivity challenges leading to more yield, for example, 2.9 tonness per hectare of Bt cowpea from 350kg of non-Bt cowpea and addressing various breeding limitations that conventional breeding method cannot address.

    “The PBR Cowpea is a classic example of how the technology can provide solutions to one of the major challenges confronting cowpea farming,” he said.

    Mustapha disclosed that with the commercialisation, adoption and use of the new variety of cowpea modified to be resistant to insect maruca vitrata, Nigeria was beginning to revolutionalise food production through tremendous yield, quick bumper harvest and good cooking characteristics.

    Listing the economic benefits, he noted that a 20 per cent increase per hectare translated to N48 billion annually at N120, 000.0 per tonne.

    Dr Rose Gidado, who is also the Country Coordinator of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), outlined reasons at a recent sensitisation workshop on modern agricbiotech, why Nigeria and Africa must hasten up the adoption of modern agricultural biotechnology tools.

    Gidado said major promises of biotech crops were abundance of healthy foods, less dependence on pesticides, decreased production risks for farmers, more agricultural yield per land mass to feed the people.

    Comparing Africa’s progress in modern agricultural biotechnology to other developed and food secured nations, she said that with all the benefits of the technology, Africa was behind the rest of the world in application of genetic engineering in agriculture.

    The OFAB country coordinator said Africa’s backwardness was largely due to restrictive and unpredictable policy environments, poorly functioning institutional mechanisms for biosafety oversight and lack of political will for GM technology.

    However, she assured that NABDA remained committed to transforming Nigeria’s food systems and recovery of the economy through application of biotechnology.(NANFeatures)

    **If used, please credit the writer as well as the News Agency of Nigeria

     

     

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN