Stakeholders in Africa’s agricultural sector have said the continent cannot continue to rely on foreign aids for food supply that are often genetically modified while it has the potential to do the same.
The Director-General, Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique, Dr. Olga Fafetine, who stated this at a meeting of regulators from Ethiopia, Mozambique and Kenya in Abuja, affirmed that with lessons learnt from Nigeria, she would go to her country to ensure that they follow all standards and regulations required in using biotechnology to boost food production.
On his part, the Head of Policy and Regulatory, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Dr. Francis Nang’ayo, said Africa will not be a battleground for genetically modified technology, saying successes have been recorded in Nigeria and other countries.
Nang’ayo said Nigeria’s commercial release of the Pod Borer (PBR) cowpea was a milestone that Africa should be proud of.
The release of the PBR cowpea , he informed, took years of research, testing and trials before it was certified safe for consumption.
According to him, the successes recorded in Nigeria necessitated bringing together partners from other countries to learn from the country for them to apply the same model in their various countries.
Remarking, the President, Biotechnology Society, who doubles as Chairman Variety Release Committee of Ethiopia, Prof. Firew Mekbib, said: “No one can prescribe to us what technology to adopt or reject, now we have biotechnology evidence and successes here in Africa, we don’t need to go to the US, Brazil and Argentina.
“Now we have very good evidence, for instance, in PBR cowpea in Nigeria, so no one can tell us whether biotechnology works for Africa or not because we already have the evidence and we can attest to that.”
Also, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Agency (NABDA) Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, said Africa needs to accept and promote scientific findings.
“This will spur us to do more in the area of adopting and releasing some crops to catapult the development of our economy and agriculture,” he added.