Nigerian officials are seeing positive results as they engage in a comprehensive outreach strategy to educate citizens about biotechnology as the nation moves to commercialize its first GMO crops next year.
The strategy includes media engagements, interface with professional organizations, courtesy visits to policy makers, one-on-one meetings and other measures, said Dr. Rose Gidado, Nigeria chapter coordinator for the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) and deputy director at the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).
“One big strategy we have employed in sensitizing the public on the benefits of biotechnology is the involvement of the media,” Gidado said. “We have been engaging and training the media on the science behind the development of genetically modified crops and products because they are the ambassadors of information; they are close to the grassroots and policy makers and other sectors of the society.
“Media engagement is first and foremost on the agenda because it gives you a multiplier effect,” she continued. “If the media understand, they know the different ways of passing on the message to the people.”
Nigeria recorded a milestone in the domestication of modern biotechnology when the federal government signed the biosafety bill into law on April 18, 2015. The law allows Nigeria to join the league of countries using this cutting edge technology as another means to boost its agriculture sector and thus economic development by contributing to its national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Read more