An international organization, an open forum on agricultural biotechnology in Africa (OFAB), advised Nigerian farmers to use newly approved genetically modified (GM) cotton varieties to increase cotton production.
OFAB Country Coordinator, Dr. Rose Gidado, gave advice in an interview NIGERIA NEWS in Abuja on Friday.
She said that cultivating GM cotton varieties would significantly improve cotton production compared to using traditional varieties.
She added that the average yield of cotton varieties of GM is from 4.1 to 4.4 tons per hectare, and the average yield of local varieties is from 250 to 900 kg per hectare.
“I want to inform you that we have two varieties of GM cotton that have been released for commercialization so that farmers can access these varieties that have very high yields.
“With the support and support of the federal government, Nigeria has registered its cotton varieties grown in GM warehouses, saving our farmers from problems with the local common variety, which is no longer accepted on the international market.
“These new varieties, which have just been officially registered, can be accepted in all cotton growing areas in Nigeria, and their duration is from 150 to 160 days,” she said.
NAN reports that cotton varieties that are GM's first-class cotton varieties in Nigeria were approved at 26go meeting of the National Committee for the naming, registration and release of crops in Ibadan in August.
GM-cotton varieties were developed by Mahyco Nigeria Private Limited in collaboration with the Ahmadou Bello University Agricultural Research Institute, Zaria.
Guidado stressed that diversification efforts in Nigeria will largely depend on agriculture, encouraging cotton growers to use this window of opportunity to increase their productivity.
She said that GM cotton crops were resistant to the cotton-bolom complex and had a high yield of cotton, while they were early ripe, tolerant to insect pests, among others.
“You can see differences in yields when using improved and conventional crop varieties,” he added.
The OXFAB Country Team Director emphasized that the emerging efforts to study agriculture as a business will require the adoption of appropriate technologies, such as biotechnology, although the use of biotechnology has caused some controversy.
“Today biotechnology is safely used in other parts of the world and in all developed countries. Countries like the USA, Brazil, Japan, India and China have positive stories to tell about biotechnology.
“In Africa, South Africa and Sudan they use this technology. This technology has existed for the past 20-25 years, without causing any health risks, since there is a regulatory framework.
“Here in Nigeria, we also have regulatory bodies, such as the National Biosafety Agency, which are responsible for ensuring the safe use and practice of using biotechnology in the country,” she said.
In addition, Gidado urged farmers to abandon the use of falsified seeds, saying that they should rather go for improved seeds that can withstand all weather conditions and be resistant to pests, as well as drought-resistant.
She added that the adoption of improved seeds and seedlings by farmers to grow their crops will lead to harvesting of the bumper and an increase in income.