Nigeria has made history by becoming the first country in the world to approve biotech cowpea, thereby adding a new biotech crop to the global biotech basket.
This is according to the Global Status of Commercialised Biotech/GM (Genetically Modified) Crops in 2018 (ISAAA Brief 54), and disclosed in a news release by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, ISAAA on Thursday.
The release was issued at the Nigeria Science Cafe and launch of Brief 54, a report on Global Status of Commercialised Biotech/GM Crops event in Abuja.
The release, signed by Dr Margaret Karembu, Director, ISAAA AfriCentre in Kenya showed that Africa continued to make steady progress in the adoption of biotech crops.
Edo targets 28,000 tonnes of rice, maize for current planting season(Opens in a new browser tab)
The ISAAA AfriCentre Director praised Nigeria’s progress in biotech crop development and adoption, noting that the country was leading in agricultural technology approvals enabled by an efficient bio safety system.
“The world is in a technological advancement trajectory, the green revolution that had taken the world by storm in the second half of the 20th century is quickly transitioning into gene revolution.
“We are now progressing into genome editing, a more precise and accurate technology to effectively develop more productive, highly nutritious and climate resilient crops for our rapidly increasing population,’’ she said.
In the ISAAA Brief 54 report, a total of 70 countries adopted biotech crops through cultivation and importation in 2018, the 23rd year of continuous biotech crop adoption.
Also a total of 26 countries with 21 developing and five industrialised countries planted 191.7 million hectares of biotech crops, adding 1.9 million hectares to the record of plantings in 2017.
The Kingdom of Eswanti, former Swaziland, joined South Africa and Sudan in planting biotech crops in Africa, with commercial planting of insect resistant (IR) Bt cotton on an initial launch of 250 hectares.
This brought the number of African countries currently growing biotech crops to three.
Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi granted approvals for planting biotech cotton as the proof that Africa is ready for biotech crop adoption.
The report further indicated that South Africa alone planted 2.73 million hectares of biotech crops in 2018, sustaining its ranking among the top 19 biotech crop countries in the last two decades.
Most farmers in the country have adopted plant biotechnology with 87 per cent of adoption of biotech maize, 95 per cent biotech soybean and 100 per cent of biotech cotton.
The report further stated that Sudan planted 243,000 hectares of BT cotton, and a total of 3.14 million hectares of biotech crops in Africa.
The report highlighted among others, that the top five countries with the largest area of biotech crops planted by U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India collectively occupied 91 per cent of global biotech crop area.
It showed that biotech soybean reached the highest adoption worldwide, covering 50 per cent of the global biotech crop area.
The report indicated that farmers in 10 Latin American countries planted 79.4 million hectares of biotech crops among others.
It said that with the continuously increasing adoption of biotech crops worldwide, farmers were at the forefront of reaping numerous benefits.(NAN).
JUST IN: Boko Haram Strikes In Chibok, Sets ‘Many Houses’ On Fire
Suspected Boko Haram terrorists are currently attacking Korongilum, a community in Chibok local government area of Borno State.
A resident told the TheCable that the insurgents came into the community around 6pm, shooting sporadically and setting many houses on fire.
“People were just returning to their houses from the farm when the insurgents came in,” the resident said.
“They came in through Forfor, and our people are running for safety as we speak.”
A military source said troops from the Nigerian Army’s 28 task force brigade and 117 battalion, both headquartered in Chibok, are already on their way to Korongilum.
“In fact, the brigade and the battalion commanders are the ones leading soldiers to the attack,” the source said.
TheCable’s effort to reach Sagir Musa, army’s spokesman, for comment on the attack proved abortive as his telephone line was out of reach.
We’ll Lift Visa Ban On Nigeria If… — US
The United States has declared that the visa ban placed on Nigeria and other countries was a temporary measure.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, said the visa ban could be resolved between the two countries if the Nigerian government meets certain conditions.
The US ambassador said that Nigeria needed to meet information sharing goals before the decision would be reversed by the US government.
She said this during a visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige in Abuja on Tuesday.
The ambassador said the ban was based on US concerns over needs for information sharing and not about character definition.
Leonard said that students visa were not included in the ban.
The ambassador said the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States.
She also said the ban does not cancel the status of anyone who is currently in the United States.
The US ambassador said: “I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States.
“It does not cancel the status of anyone who currently is in the United States.
“What Secretary Pompey said was something that was meant to be temporary.
“And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolveable and we look forward to Nigeria in a very short time being able to meet those information sharing goal so that the decision can be reviewed.”
The US ambassador noted that Nigeria was blessed with the ingenuity to diversify its economy, noting that the industrious endowment of many Nigerians home and abroad.
According to her, these were ingredient that should be employed to tackle unemployment.
“I think for Nigeria, you have an interesting story about diversification of your economy and prosperity of your economy and it is people.
“You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.
“You know you hear about how much of the activity in the informal sector. So I wonder how you think about capturing that entrepreneurial spirit and to bringing it into the formal sector in service and to enhance employment,” she added.
Ngige said the inclusion of Nigeria in the list of countries under the US travel ban was a shock to the country.
The minister described the ban as unwarranted because of the contribution of Nigerian professionals to the US economy.
The Minister said: “Some of these Nigerians are medical doctors, engineers and people with high level of proficiency in oil and gas fields.
“They were all part of the Nigerian residents in the US and it came to us as a rude shock when the US government banned Nigerians and put us in the list of those countries whose residency status have been cancelled.”
Ngige urged the US ambassador to discuss the visa ban issue with her home government in order to reach an understanding and have it reversed.
The Minister told the US ambassador that more than 70 per cent of Nigerians living in the US were highly skilled professionals who contributed billions of dollars yearly to US economy while sending equally impressive amount to Nigeria.
He used the opportunity of the visit to seek for collaboration and assistance of the US in the area of poverty eradication and child labour. He said Nigeria would not demand for money from the US but other forms of assistance.
“We have called on the US Department of Labour to assist and we have given them a list of what we need.
“We are not asking for monetary assistance and we are not asking for American cash but we need technical assistance and logistics like vehicles for those in the inspectorate division to be able to carry out their functions.
“We call on US to help us build schools in those areas where child labour is endemic. You also help in setting up clinics and executing its own empowerment programmes in those localities,” the minister added.
JUST IN: IGP Seeks Algeria’s Support To Combat Terrorism, Insurgency
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has appealed for Algeria’s support to combat insurgency and terrorism in the country.
Adamu made the appeal when he received a delegation of the African Police Organization (AFRIPOL) General Assembly led by its President and Inspector General of Police of Algeria, H. E. Khelifa Ounissi, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
More to follow…