Nigerian farmers have conveyed their support for the application of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agricultural practices, with many saying they back modern biotechnology because it has the capacity to pull the majority of them out of poverty.
Arc Kabir Ibrahim, president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), encouraged farmers in the country to fully embrace science and adopt GMOs as a means to improve their productivity and earn more money from their farms.
Biotechnology is seen as a major force in solving human problems like water and food insecurity, which impede national development and threaten peace.
In addition to food security, biotechnology also unlocks farmers’ potential for large-scale production, leading to their increased prosperity as well as greater national economic growth.
The approval of two genetically modified crops in Nigeria, namely; pod borer -resistant, cowpea, and Bt. cotton, has generated optimism amongst farmers that implementation of these crops could be a game-changer, serving as a pathway to prosperity in farming.
Anibe Achimugu, president of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria, affirmed that cotton farmers are willing to adopt the Bt. cotton because the advantages of the seeds outweigh the cost.
“The use of these seeds drastically reduces the number of chemical sprays from 10 to 2 or 3 because of the quality of the seeds, thereby saving costs.
“Then obviously, it is also drought-tolerant meaning, it is climate-smart and can respond to harsh weather conditions. So when you put all these things together, it makes sense.”
Salmanu Abdullahi, a cotton farmer and ginner in Kaduna State, said his farm has been used as a demonstration plot for Bt. cotton for over three years, noting that Nigerian cotton hardly yields more than 800 kilograms per hectare, whereas all the farmers who planted Bt. cotton were able to achieve a minimum of 3.5 tons per hectare.