BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR
Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology [OFAB] has warned of the harmful effects of application of herbicides and pesticides to the environment.
Dr. Rose Gidado, Coordinator, OFAB, Nigeria Chapter,who gave the warning at an event in Abuja, said 70 per cent of the farmers’ activities are devoted to weed control, adding that herbicides and other dangerous chemicals are used to stem the growth of weeds in the farmlands.
Gidado cautioned that these chemicals are not only hazardous to the environment but also could sicknesses and diseases to the farmers.
Apart from health hazards, she noted that the application of these chemicals lower the value of farm produce, adding that Nigerian beans was rejected recently by European Union due to its chemical contents.
As part of measures to mitigate the impact of this ugly phenomenon, she explained that the application of agricultural biotechnology or genetically modified technology remains the only solution to soil/environmental degradation and hazards.
She pointed out that the only viable approach to ensuring environmental sustainability and increasing food production was through agricultural mechanisation and improving quality of seeds using plant breeding techniques or biotechnology.
The country Coordinator of OFAB, asserted that agricultural biotechnology would enhance crop yields, increased income for farmers, reduce pesticide use, leading to improved health for farmers as well as improved nutritional content for crops with vitamin A, iron and zinc.
She pointed out that the use of biotechnology would ensure tolerance to environmental stress like drought, flood and salinity.
Gidado who spoke on “Achieving Food Security, the Role of Biotechnology,” said biotechnology or genetically modified technology has huge potential to making Nigeria to be self -sufficient in food production.
According to her, “Nigeria has the potential to catch up with Asia and other developed countries. We have the human capital, environment and all it takes to be like Brazil, Asia and others.
“We must embrace science and technology for the wind of change to be realised. We are already behind. The evolving technologies are getting more complex.
“Let’s think of agricultural biotechnology. The future is very bright.”