The country coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, Nigeria chapter, Dr. Rose Gidado has identified genetic modification as a vital tool for modern biotechnology development of the country’s agriculture sector to improve crops and animal productivity.
Gidado made this assertion at a three-day training on genome editing communication organised by the Alliance for Science (AfS) housed in the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), USA in partnership with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) under the auspices of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Abuja.
According to her, biotechnology has been identified as one of the most important structures for development in the country, just as it is a strategic tool to help farmers and their farm produce. Safe biotechnology application, especially in agriculture, helps to improve the production of quality food crops and yield more income to farmers.
“Biotechnology is facing worldwide controversial challenges because of misinformation sponsored by anti-biotechnology activists. However, it is on record that the technology has not caused hazards to human, animal life or the environment since its application started over 20 years ago.
“We are tasking the media to help sensitize Nigerians and farmers to understand what modern biotechnology is all about. We need farmers now that commercialisation has started,” Gidado stated.
She further underscored the importance of framework to guide how people organise and disseminate information to sensitize the public on the benefits of this technology.
Speaking at the training a science communicator, and founder and publisher of Science Nigeria, Nkechi Isaac disclosed that scientists and journalists have curious minds to achieve a goal.
“Media plays a major role in relating both with public and policymakers. Journalists and scientists work together to educate people about science, and they increase research findings that will benefit farmers and ordinary people in Nigeria,” she said.
In her remarks, the chief executive officer of Replenish Farms, Patience Koku, urged scientists to use a few words when communicating with farmers.
“Scientists should make their words simple, concise and visual to lay farmers. Tailor your communication regionally because farmers need scientists for improved productivity.
“You must come down to what they understand either their language or medium that will be clear to them. The two ways of communication must be at the beginning and at the end of relating with farmers,” she added.