By Ernest KISSIEDU
The Assistant Director for the National Biotech Development Agency for Nigeria, Dr. Rose M. Gidado, has described the adoption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for food crops as a very safe technological tool for agriculture.
This, according to her, would help improve crop yields, ensure insect resistance, as well as herbicide and drought tolerance, and also reduce the use of harmful pesticides among farmers.
Speaking at a Biotechnology Forum for Women in Science organized by the United States Embassy in Ghana last week Thursday, Dr. Gidado disclosed that the world was currently facing the threat of food security.
“We need to double agriculture production in Africa by 2025. By 2030, the continent must ensure its food and nutrition security.
“Africa must rise up otherwise, we will be overwhelmed by the climate changes and we might not have enough food. Efforts must be doubled to increase food production through well researched and safe application of biotechnology and improve agricultural systems.”
On the topic, “Innovations In Agriculture”, the forum was expected to discuss how best women can influence agriculture with the help of GMO technology.
For Dr. Gidado, if countries fail to make or see agriculture as a business, they cannot excel. “What we must do is to adopt the GMO technology to ensure that foods are made available and in abundance for our teeming population,” she advised.
However, on effective and innovative strategies to deal with challenges in agriculture, Dr. Gidado opined that biotechnology have led to effective advancements in major areas such as industry, health and the environment in developed countries.
She called for the need to bring science closer to people to prevent a lot of misinformation and misconception going round.
“Scientists have been too conservative with their work, leaving the outer world in the dark on what was to be achieved.”
This often leads to the rejection or implementation of research findings, inventions, interventions and other scientific data by society, politicians and policymakers.
She thanked the US Embassy for providing further enlightenment to the participants on the issues concerning biotechnology, its regulations in Ghana, the risks and benefits associated with it.
On his part, Director of the Biotechnology and Stewardship for Sustainable Agriculture (BSSA), Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan said biotechnology was an alternative solution to the many challenges faced by agriculture in Ghana.
He called on Ghanaians to embrace the use of biotechnology in agricultural production to ensure increased crop yields and the country’s food security.
“We need innovations in technology to deal with the mounting challenges in agriculture. Engaging women as key players is crucial considering the challenges they face in areas such as land, capital and market access for their produce.”
Prof. Alhassan asserted that globally, women in science are very few adding that, getting them to talk about the issues affecting them was crucial because they hold majority of the population and contributed greatly to the Gross Domestic Products of their respective countries.
Adding her voice, Deputy Chief of Missions at the US Embassy in Ghana, Ms Melinda Tabler-Stone said the forum showed her country’s commitment to enhance agriculture through effective innovations and technology.
“When ongoing research on improved variety of crops are adopted, food production will be enhanced for local consumption and exportation to help reduce poverty through job creation.”