PRESS RELEASE Chief Audu Ogbeh commends Bt.-Cotton On-Station trial stakeholders

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Audu Ogbeh with the NABDA Team

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh has applauded the group of stakeholders working on the deployment of Bt.-Cotton to Nigeria.

He said if the introduction of Bt.-Cotton can result to the revival of the Textile industry, it would be a great achievement for the country. The textile industry which was one of the countries most important sectors of the economy is dead.

The Minister made the comment during the inspection visit to the Bt.-Cotton on-Station Trial at the Premises of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) today. “I want to thank you all, the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) Zaria, Monsanto Company, MAHYCO and the national Biotechnology Development agency (NABDA)”, he said.

“I am happy with what I have seen today, Bt.-Cotton stakeholders can talk about Bt.-Cotton in the country now. You can yell loud about Bt.-Cotton now.  Farmers keep talking about good seeds, they mostly lament that when cotton starts growing, it then literally vanishes”, he said.

“We need to cut down importation and increase export, our country is coming out of recession but there are serious challenges coming up. Our economy is growing at the rate of 3.2 %, the economy needs to perform at 6.7%, otherwise we cannot say there is growth.  In the next 3-4 years, our population will be 200 million and 450 million by 2050,this is scary, so what we are doing now is little compared to what we need to do”, he added.

He disclosed that there is no substitute to science research, “we cannot change anything without serious work and I am very happy I am seeing this because there has been a lot of negative talk about Bt., we will join hands with you to demystify the myth around this technology”.

During the Tour, Professor Onu of IAR Zaria explained to the minister that the fruiting from Bt. Cotton reaches 80 to 120 fruits which cannot be compared to our cotton which is always grappling to survive the attack of bollworm and thus ends up dropping the fruiting points to survive.

“As a scientist, I am not condemning our cotton but we have to say the truth, you can see, Bt.-Cotton and our cotton is planted here side by side, bollworm is eating up our cotton but you can see that Bt. Cotton is doing well without attack from bollworm”, Prof. Onu.

Similarly, the DG/CEO, NABDA applauded the Minister for the visit as the visit will encourage the scientists to do more in order to bring Nigeria out of recession. She said she was happy that the Minister had seen the technology working himself without being told.

While Dr. Rose Gidado could not hide her excitement on the Minister’s visit as it’s a strength to her advocacy activities. “The Minister has seen that science is practical and evidence-based, there is no lie about it”, she asserted.

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