Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that innovative advances such as biotechnology in agriculture if properly developed would bring an end to hunger across the globe.
Speaking at the South West Sensitization programme of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), held at the OOPL, Abeokuta, he said something urgent needed to be done in terms of agriculture yield, considering the world’s population reaching 9.7 billion by 2050.
He said, “If agricultural yields stay the same, we would need to cultivate more than double the present amount of land to feed that population. That’s 82 per cent of our total land area on earth.”
He noted that biotechnology has the potential to increase agricultural productivity, enhance food security, develop a better health care delivery system, boost an efficient industrial development process for transforming raw materials and detoxifying hazardous wastes, reduce mortality, move agriculture away from a dependence on chemical inputs and help to reduce environmental problems.
He said biotechnology is taking mankind beyond the depths of understanding of chemical and physical possibilities and that agriculture occupies a strategic position in global efforts to address issues of hunger and diseases.
Obasanjo recommended that biotechnology remained one of the most potent tools for Nigeria as the government intensifies efforts to diversify the economy and enhanced the wellbeing of the people.
“I’m excited that OFAB has presented a formidable platform for dialogue on the transformation of agriculture through quality information dissemination on agricultural biotechnology in Africa, he added.
The overseeing Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency, Mr Oguntunde Abayomi, in his remarks,said that the event was very timely and pertinent especially at this period that Nigeria and other African Countries are adopting improved agricultural technologies for food security.