The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, Nigeria chapter and other stakeholders, including the Executive Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri attended the ‘Farmers Field Day’ organised by Mahyco Nigeria Limited in Hosere Bembe, Yola South local government area, Adamawa State.
The Bt cotton ‘Field Day’ also had in attendance hundreds of farmers and stakeholders coming together to learn more about the Bt cotton and to also share their experiences from planting the biotech cotton.
Speaking at the event, Fintiri noted that the newly released ‘Mahyco Cotton BG2’ hybrid seed will deliver to the farmers higher yields, a superior cotton quality and a decreased cost of pest control which will, in turn, enhance the income level of farmers and contribute to the economy of the state.
The commercialisation of Bt cotton, the governor said, aligned with the Federal Government’s vision to revive the cotton ginneries and textile sectors across the northern states.
“Adoption of the biotech cotton seed has the potential to begin a cotton revolution and help the state regain its glory as a prime cotton-producing state. The revival of cotton farming will not only enhance income levels of farmers but also strengthen the economy of the state through employment generation, revival of cotton-related industries and lint export.”
Fintiri was represented at the event by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Mrs. Dorothy Augustine.
The farmers were, therefore, charged to deploy the new technology and change their lives. The country coordinator, OFAB Nigeria, Dr. Rose Gidado who made this call in her remarks at the ‘Field Day’ explained that the commercialisation of the biotech cotton gives lee-way for the farmers to go into large-scale farming and produce material for reviving the moribund textile industries in the state. Gidado said the ‘Field Day’ presented a platform for interaction with stakeholders, especially the farmers.
Similarly, Malam Bawuro Musa, the owner of the BGII cotton farm where the activity was held expressed his joy in planting the variety of cotton.
“I have never seen an improved cotton variety like this biotech cotton since I have been farming cotton for the past 20 years. It’s so productive and lint quality is superior. I am very happy with it. It’s far better than the variety we have been cultivating before. I urge the federal and state governments to support as many farmers as possible with biotech cotton seeds to encourage productivity.”
Complementing the benefitting community, a local farmer and community head, Ahmed Joro said: “We are very happy with the biotech cotton seeds. He called out to the government to subsidise the cost of farming, to bring down the cost of the seeds”.
As with many other farmers, Usman Akibelel expressed his delight in planting the biotech cotton seeds while sharing his personal experience before the journalists. “I have been farming cotton crops for the past 20 years. There is a great change between the experience we have before and now. The planting of the conventional seeds does not give us up to 1 tonne per hectare but this new biotech cotton seeds give us more than 3 tonnes per hectare.”
The most notable participants included the chief of staff to the governor, Prof. Maxwell Gidado SAN – who was represented by his personal assistant, Mr. Danlami Ismaila – and the state coordinator, Mahyco Nigeria Ltd. Over 500 people attended the field day in Bosere.