Biotech Updates

Nigeria Prepares for Commercial Release of Bt Cowpea and Bt Cotton in 2018

October 25, 2017

The National Agriculture Seed Council (NASC) is getting ready for the commercialization of Bt cowpea and Bt cotton which is projected to happen in 2018. Part of the preparations of the Nigerian government is the conduct of a workshop for seed companies to educate them of their role in the distribution of GM seeds when released in the market.

"The agriculture industry has traditionally been supportive of technological advancement, particularly in the field of genetic crop improvement. For decades, the industry has been mixing naturally the genetic traits of seeds in search for particularly robust varieties through conventional plant breeding. Breeding has, however, evolved to engaging in genetic modification of crop varieties through non-conventional methods resulting to the production of genetically modified (GM) seeds," said Dr. Philip Ojo, NACS Director General.

The workshop was conducted in collaboration with an association that represents private seed companies in Africa, the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) with support from Seed Enterprises Entrepreneur Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN); African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF); Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB); Africa Harvest; and the National Biosafety Management Agency (NABDA), in Abuja.

AFSTA Communication Officer, Aghan Daniel, stressed that it is vital for farmers and consumers in Africa to be given an opportunity to benefit from increased  productivity, efficiency, predictable and accessible food supply by having GM crops commercialized in African countries.

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