The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, on Sunday in Abuja said agricultural biotechnology was crucial in fighting the malnutrition affecting some parts of the country.
Adesina who said this at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum noted that as the country’s food needs arise, Nigeria would find healthier, safer and environmentally sound ways to address them.
He condemned the misconception by some people about science in agriculture, noting that there were numerous benefits when chemicals were not applied in food cropping.
“In agriculture, science is very important because as the population is rising food needs are rising.
“And you must find new ways of producing more food in a healthier manner, in a safe manner and in an environmentally sound manner.
“But we must also recognise that there is a lot of misconception about science and when you are not using chemicals the benefits are many.
“We have malnutrition in some areas and we are using orange flesh sweet potato, and orange flesh sweet potato comes out of biotechnology.
“It has vitamin ‘A’ inside of the sweet potato. So, it is good for children.
“The other one is what you call pro-vitamin ‘A’ cassava, cassava that has vitamin A in it. So we have started work now to distribute it to two million farm households, especially women.
“So that they can process this and feed their children and there are better vitamins because if you don’t have vitamin A it causes blindness,’’ the minister said.
He also spoke of the ministry’s commitment to ensuring good regulatory environment and laws that are necessary in promoting genetically modified crops.
“We are putting in place a good regulatory environment, good bio-safety laws. We are building our capacity with Nigeria Biotechnology Development Agency to do monitoring assessment, risk analysis and all of that,’’ Adesina added.