Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau said on Monday that developing indigenous disease resistant crop varieties and animal species would help address some of the challenges in the country’s agricultural sector.
Lalong, who was represented by Prof. John Wade, Director, Research, Statistics and Documentation, Government House, Jos, said this at the 40th Annual Conference of the Genetic Society of Nigeria (GSN), in Jos.
The theme of the conference is: “Genetics: Agriculture and Health Care’’.
The governor also tasked the society to research into drugs.
According to him, it will not only address the looming problems of food security, but also help to alleviate the poverty indices in the country.
“Nigeria is presently going through serious challenges in agriculture and agric-related activities.
“This presents a lot of set back to our economic progress; today, our economy is in recession.
“So, these challenges must be urgently addressed, if we must come out of the present economic predicaments.
“No one is in a better position to proffer solutions to these problems than experts like you in the pure and applied fields of sciences, agriculture and genetics.’’
“As you exchange ideas and notes on your research activities, I urge you reflect on the economic challenges and the role agriculture can play in tackling these challenges.
“You should work hard to develop new and preferably, indigenous and resistant crop varieties and animal species.
“You should also research into drugs that can be used to tackle new and emerging human and animal diseases.
“ If these aspects are properly addressed, we would have gone a long way in tackling the issues of food insecurity and poverty alleviation in Nigeria,’’ Lalong said.
The governor also tasked the society to develop indigenous and nutritious forage species that could be used to feed livestock.
According to him, this is especially as the government is exploring the option of ranching, to address the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
In his welcome address, the President of GSN, Prof Akinola Hassan, represented by the Vice-President, Prof. Iwo Akpan, said that the theme of the conference was appropriate, considering government’s commitment to diversifying the economy.
According to him, the conference will provide an opportunity for the challenges in the agricultural sector, as well as research findings by experts from different institutions, to be adequately appraised.