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Author Topic: National Assembly okays biotechnology bill to cut $40b food import  (Read 2970 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
Expert in Bioscience Issues
Posts: 657

« on: March 03, 2011, 01:50:17 am »

Senators and Members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday supported the passage of biotechnology bill, saying it would close the food crisis gap, promote Nigeria’s economy and cut down the over $40 billion spent on the importation of food items annually.
The lawmakers made this disclosure during a sensitization workshop in Abuja organized by the National Biotechnology Development Agency, NABDA, and stakeholders from the Ministries of Environment, Health and Science and Technology.

They observed that Nigeria needs biosafety laws to tackle the problems of poverty, unemployment and climate change.
Senator Ahmed Lawan who spoke earlier on the floor of the Senate during the second reading of the bill noted that Nigeria having being signatory to the categena protocol on biotechnology need laws to harness it gains for the people.
He also said the passage of the bill would enable Nigeria compete favourable with other African countries like South Africa, Burkina Faso and Senegal in food production and foreign exchange earnings.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Makanjuola Peters noted that the passage of the bill will cut down the over N40 billion spent on the importation of food items annually into the country.
He added that it will help government to revamp the agriculture, which includes creating more jobs, attracting foreign direct investment and ensuring food sufficiency.
He said, “I have come to realize that no amount of appropriation in the area of agriculture can solve the problem. There is need for technology development to solve the problem of food shortage.
“It is time for us to go back to agriculture. No amount of oil can help the country. It is not about appropriation. No amount of appropriation can be enough for agriculture; we need agric technology to address hunger.

“We believe that it is only through technology that we can increase yield and tackle the problem of food crisis. Nigeria spend over N40 billion annually on importing all kinds of food items, but if we have this law in place, we can develop our agriculture to such a level that we can produce all we want to eat and have so much left for export.”
Earlier, the Director General of NABDA, Professor Bamidele Solomon noted absence of a bio-safety law has hampered the activities of Research and Development (R&D) of genetically modified organisms in the country thereby denying Nigeria of the benefits associated with this cutting edge technology practice.
He said, “The passage of the Bill would help Nigeria to achieve food sufficiency/food security, industrial growth, health improvement and environmental sustainability and would also help to effectively regulate activities of modern biotechnology.
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