In a bid to boost food security, the Federal Government has approved the release of more new crop varieties.
Recall that on Thursday, 11th January 2024, the National Committee on Naming, Registration, and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock Breeds/Fisheries granted approval for the commercial release and open cultivation of the transgenic insect-resistant and drought-tolerant maize varieties.
Weeks after, however, Nigeria’s Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology Uche Nnaji said the ministry is “actively pursuing the release of several other crops”.
He shared this on Tuesday during a press conference at the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) office in Abuja.
According to him, “It is important to note that this release is just a glimpse of the transformative potential at our disposal. NABDA, in collaboration with various stakeholders and foreign collaborators, is actively pursuing the release of several other crops, each poised to revolutionise our agricultural productivity and fortify our nation’s food security.”
Nnaji encouraged farmers to embrace the newly-released maize varieties, stating that they are a step towards a more prosperous, sustainable, and food-secure future for Nigeria.
“The January release of the new crop varieties for open cultivation marks a remarkable step to enhance agricultural productivity and ensure food sufficiency for our nation.
“It shows our commitment to harnessing the power of biotechnology to address pressing agricultural challenges, enhance crop resilience, and improve the livelihoods of our farmers and citizens. It also strengthens our position in the global agricultural landscape, fostering economic stability and opening new avenues for trade and export.”
The minister expressed gratitude to NABDA for their relentless efforts and support, stating that these were instrumental to the groundbreaking achievement.
He said, “Their dedication has been pivotal in advancing our agricultural sector, and I applaud their tireless commitment to boosting food security and agricultural sustainability.”
“Mr. President’s salutary commitment to turning innovation into an engine of growth is a source of inspiration to us at the Ministry and in the various parastatals under my auspices.
“I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the dedicated and innovative scientists,
researchers, experts, institutions, and foreign collaborators who have contributed to the development and release of these transgenic crop varieties.”