Nigeria to Release its First Genetically Modified Produce by 2018

The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) says Nigeria will release its first genetically modified agricultural produce by 2018.

The Country Coordinator of the forum, Mrs Rose Gidado, made the disclosure in an interview on the sidelines of a media and stakeholders forum in Abuja on Wednesday.

She said the first agricultural produce, which would be biotechnology cowpea (BT cowpea), would help farmers improve their yields.

According to her, if released to the markets and farms, farmers will have access to nutritionally enhanced and pest resistant crops.

``We know that climate change has been a problem to our farmers but with biotechnology we will overcome climate challenges.

``Farmers will have access to some scientific innovations.

``There are three crops already in Nigeria that are undergoing confinement trials and by 2018, we will release the first genetically modified product called BT Cowpea,’’ Gidado said.

The coordinator, who expressed regrets that most textile industries in Nigeria were moribund, said that genetically modified cotton would also be released to encourage textile industries in Nigeria.

``We are also expecting to have the BT Corn and cotton which will be of advantage to Nigeria and the economy because now, most of our textile industries in Kaduna are moribund,’’ she said.

Gidado, who cited Burkina Faso as one of the countries generating over one million dollars from genetically modified cotton, said Nigeria had the capacity to surpass Burkina Faso in cotton production through biotechnology.

The OFAB Nigeria was launched in 2009 by the Africa Agricultural Development Foundation, Kenya.