Public Prejudice Can Be Overcome Through Communication – NBRDA

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The director-general, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha.
The director-general, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha.

The National Biotechnology Research Development Agency (NBRDA) has touted science communication as it tool to overcome public prejudice over recent developments in the, given Nigeria’s great potential for biotechnology and biosafety advancement.

The director-general, NBRDA, Prof. Mustapha Abdullahi made this known during a Biosafety and Biotechnology Sensitisation Workshop in Enugu State.

Abdullahi urged stakeholders to develop strategies for ensuring food security nationwide.

He stated, “Biotechnology is crucial in addressing challenges in agriculture, healthcare, and the environment. It has vast applications from improving crop yields to medical innovations and climate change mitigation.

“However, adopting biotechnological innovations must consider biosafety and ethical aspects. As custodians of science, we must prioritise safety, sustainability and social responsibility.”

He mentioned that the workshop will enhance understanding of biosafety regulations, biotechnological advancements and their implications for Nigeria.

“Through dialogue, best practices sharing, and awareness-raising, stakeholders can make informed decisions and actively participate in the unfolding biotechnology revolution,” he added.

The vice-chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, Rev. Fr Prof. Christan Anieke emphasised the broad applications of modern biotechnology in improving various aspects of life.

He stressed the importance of sensitising the southeastern region about the benefits and safety of biotechnology to counter health-related claims.

Anieke noted, “Biotechnology is gaining importance in Nigeria, especially with the commercialisation of Bt Cotton and PBR Cowpea. The Southeast needs specialised advocacy and sensitisation programmes.”

He highlighted the necessity of training stakeholders on NBMA’s role in regulating GM crops and the economic benefits of GMO adoption.

Anieke expressed optimism that the workshop would promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing to address agricultural needs in the southeast.

Director of the agricultural biotechnology department at NBRDA, Abuja, Dr. Rose Gidado hinged on the success of PBR Cowpea to emphasise the importance of effective science communication in addressing concerns and promoting adoption.

She stressed the need to combat prejudices through science communication, education and engagement with local communities and farmers to build trust and enhance understanding of biotechnology products.

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