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Agric research should have national focus —Don

As Obadina assures biotechnology can guaranty food security

A professor at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB)’s Department of Crop Protection, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), Professor Steve Afolami, has advocated the importance of ensuring that the various researches being carried out in Nigeria have national focus.

The professor said this, while assessing the impact of research on the fortunes of the country, saying that it was high time Nigeria closed its eyes to foreign researches and looked inward to identify peculiar problems with the hope of finding appropriate solutions to them.

He expressed the hope that FUNAAB would keep performing this noble role of engaging in impactful researches with national focus, through its Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), as well as the Institute for Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR).

“I have always wished that there would be a national focus. For example, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with The Presidency, could identify problems, seek for solutions and follow-up to a logical conclusion; no matter how long it takes and without any form of distractions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director, Biotechnology Centre of the institution, Dr Adewale Obadina, has assured that biotechnology can guarantee food security in Nigeria.

According to him, “the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), has predicted that by 2050, we would need to feed a world population of 9.1 billion people. This requires raising food production by approximately 70 per cent.”

On the backdrop of the forecast, the dirctor said biotechnology could help with development of disease-resistant plants, plants that reduce environmental burden of fertilizers, food crops that could produce greater yields, increasing nutrient in plants such as vitamins and genetically-engineered bacteria that could degrade environmental pollutants.

He added that it could help in detection of forensics, DNA finger-printing, gene therapy, transgenic crops, animals and DNA tracking of seeds, aquaculture, bioremediation and bioextractions, bioinformatics, tissue culture among others.

The director, who said these recently, in a chat with the Nigerian Tribune, added that a weekly seminar on biotechnologywould begin Ogun State’s in Senior Secondary Schools, among the science students.