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EWHC represented at the Agricultural Biotechnology & Biosafety Workshop

Chairman of the workshop; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Hon Minister of Science and Technology flanked on the left by DG/CEO NABDA, Prof. Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu and on the left by DG/CEO NBMA, Dr. Rufus Edegba NABMA.

Representatives of the Every Woman Hope Centre (EWHC) attended the recently conducted Workshop on Agricultural Biotechnology & Biosafety with theme: “The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology in the achievement of food security and Economic Diversification in Nigeria”.

The workshop was held on the 17-18th March, 2016 at Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Abuja Nigeria. The workshop was organized by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in collaboration with National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) and declared open by the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

In his keynote address, the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology described the theme of the workshop as timely and that modern biotechnology is contributing immensely in the fight against poverty and diseases.

He said, “I see a bright future where no Nigerian will go to bed hungry because there is no food to eat, and no farmer will not be able to pay his bills as a result of poor harvest, and that post-harvest losses are not allowed to create food shortages in our country”.

Chairman of the workshop; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Hon Minister of Science and Technology flanked on the left by DG/CEO NABDA, Prof. Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu and on the left by DG/CEO NBMA, Dr. Rufus Edegba NABMA.He concluded; “President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to ensuring that science and technology are effectively utilized to serve our nation, feed our people, cloth and shelter them, grow our economy, create jobs for the young and old  and ensure that the rule of law is upheld”

Participants include stake holders from the Federal Ministries of; Science & Technology, Agriculture & Rural Development, Environment and Industry, Trade & Investment. There were representatives from; Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) who played visible role in the organization, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), United State Development Agency (USDA), United State Agency for International Development(USAID), MONSATO, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and the Program for Biosafety System (PBS).

Institutions and Organizations that were also represented include; Federal University; Oye-Ekiti, Federal University of Agriculture Umudike, Godfrey Okoye University; Enugu, Obafemi Awolowo University; Ife and Ahmadu Bello University; Zaria, Research Institutions, Journalists, Farmers and Civil Society Organizations including Every Woman Hope Centre.

Chairman of the workshop; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Hon Minister of Science and Technology flanked on the left by DG/CEO NABDA, Prof. Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu and on the left by DG/CEO NBMA, Dr. Rufus Edegba NABMA.

            The objectives of the Workshop include:

i.                    To advance the diversification of Nigeria’s Economy utilizing a dynamic modern biotechnology and biosafety regulatory framework.

ii.                   To inspire better realization among participants of the benefits of Biotechnological development in Nigeria with emphasis on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

iii.                To encourage greater interest and best practices in agricultural- based biotechnological research, in pursuit of food security, industrial growth, health improvement and sustainability of our  environmental and biodiversity.

Among the issues discussed were:

i.                    The readiness of the Biosafety Management Agency to maintain the Biosafety Standards in Nigeria with regulatory instruments and the capacity to enforce the National Biosafety Act.

ii.                  The potentials of Biotechnology in transforming the Agricultural and Health Sector and ensuring food/nutrition security and poverty eradication.

iii.                The importance of Knowledge sharing among stake holders especially farmers to increase confidence in the system and the media for effective biosafety communication.  

There was a total of Seventeen (17) papers presented.

At the end of the 2-day workshop, some recommendations were made which include;

i.                    The need to include Nigeria in the global map of Biotechnological countries and compliment the conventional Agricultural Technology with the most thoroughly tested and fastest developed crop technology that delivers benefits.

ii.                  The import of caution as well as need to harness expert advice based on scientific studies and the recommendations of international bodies such as the UN and World Health Organization (WHO) for improved food system agricultural productivity.

              Prof Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu during her presentation at the workshop

iii.                To promote the establishment of local framework(s) and inclusion of farmers, to enhance information exchange and experience sharing on the importance and safety of biotechnology and the GMOs for a more sustainable agriculture in Nigeria.

iv.                 To provide information and knowledge to the scientific society and rural community on biotech/GM products to facilitate a more informed and transparent discussion
regarding their potential role in contributing to national and global food security.          

v.                   Noting the urgent nutritional intervention needed in the sub-Saharan Africa especially in Nigeria, with emphasis on women and children, Biotechnology was identified as a safe and effective method towards the fortification of food production for enhanced nutrition.

vi.                 The need to train communicators in the media and organizations to bridge the divide and the promotion of risk assessment models to ensure safety for our generation and environment was also raised.


In her closing remarks, Prof. Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu, DG/CEO NABDA noted that Biotechnology has been available since 1930s and has significant role to play in moving agriculture forward in Nigeria to improve overall productivity and livelihood. She also emphasized the readiness of the agency to support science-based evaluation system in addressing concerns regarding what is seen as potential risks.

In his own remarks, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, DG/CEO NBMA, reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to maintain Biosafety standards. He also confirmed the agency’s capacity to guide the national Biosafety regulatory system for all GMOs and safe Biotechnology policies that will enhance good health, food security & agricultural development, economic growth and environmental sustainability. He also encouraged the complementary role of other law enforcement agencies for strict enforcement of the provisions of the Biosafety Act.