Food security: FG embraces genetic engineering, biotechnology

The Federal Government  has said it intends to apply genetic engineering and biotechnology to ensure food security in the country.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu,  said  this while declaring open a training workshop on Living Modified Organisms Detection and Identification organised by the National Biotechnology Development Agency in Abuja on Tuesday.

“The Federal Government has recognised the immense importance of genetic engineering and biotechnology to national development,” the minister said.

According to him, effective application of genetic engineering and biotechnology will boost local production of food, and as a result, minimise the need for continuous import.

Onu said, “The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will continue to support the National Biotechnology Development Agency in carrying out this very important mandate to help our country not only in the area of agriculture, but also in protecting our environment and in ensuring that the desire of our nation to industrialise rapidly is achieved.”

The acting Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof Alex Akpa, said Nigeria had adopted biotechnology and genetic engineering to improve crops and animal production.

Akpa  said   the country  had made significant investments in modern biotechnology, adding that the investments had yielded a “remarkable success”.

The representative of the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Austein McLoughlin, said close cooperation with developing nations would be sustained in a bid to identify the importance of living modified organisms.

Scientists from about 21 countries are participating in the workshop, which is aimed at bridging the knowledge gap in genetic engineering and biotechnology.
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