B4FA Fellow Alex Abutu writes:
Following the endorsement of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbe of the Bt Cotton project for Nigeria, stakeholders in the country are strategising for the eventual uptake and release of the Bollgard II cotton to farmers.
The Bollgard II cotton project which was approved for on-station/on-farm trials in Nigeria in 2016 by the National Biosafety Management Agency is currently undergoing last stage of multi-location trials in over 72 locations in the nation’s cotton growing zones and will be commercialised in 2018.
A stakeholders meeting held in Abuja on November 8, that included seed companies, government ministries and agencies and farmers agreed that Bt cotton had the potentials of reviving the moribund textiles industries which hitherto was the major employer of labour in the country.
The Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar who noted that years back, Nigeria had over 176 textiles companies, regretted that the country today boasts of less than 36 functional textile industries.
Abubakar added that Bt cotton technology had been tested in other places and found to be successful and that Nigeria had no option but to embrace the technology in order to better the lots of farmers and create jobs for the teeming population.
“We cannot allow people to import Bt cotton into Nigeria, we now have the people, the technology and the land to practice how to take full advantage of the technology to address our own challenges,” she said. Read more