Agricultural scientists have described education of farmers as an important factor in embracing the use of modern techniques to increase food production.
They stated this at a workshop on communicating biotechnology for national development in Abuja, and maintained that population growth had made food security a global concern.
Genetic modification could protect crops against threats to strong yields such as diseases, drought, pests and herbicides and therefore could boost food production.
Bitrus Bako Nabasu, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, said farmers needed basic knowledge and information to help them make informed decisions in the society.
This, he argued, would play key roles in creating awareness and promoting the understanding of modern agricultural biotechnology because of its potential to address hunger and generate wealth.
Dr. Abdulraham Kollo of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) maintained that Africa had continued to remain one of the most challenged continents where hunger and illiteracy are on the increase.
Kollo, however, regretted that farmers were still being denied such technologies because anti-genetically modified organism crusaders were busy instilling fear and spreading unscientific information about its efficacy.
Prof Alex Akpa, acting Director General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said, “We are faced with challenges of rapid population growth and the need to double food production by 2050. This calls for increased application of biotechnology in agriculture. Small farms received little government support.”
Contributing, Dr. Rose Gidado of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), hinted that the government would soon embark on commercialisation of Bt. Cotton to revamp textile industry.