Kenneth Afor with agency report
As Nigeria joins the league of nations that are adopting biotechnology in cultivating most of their crops, the federal ministry of science and technology has distributed a variety of high yielding wheat seedlings to farmers in the country to improve productivity and boost output of the crop.
The distribution took place in Ibadan, recently, at the 27th meeting of the National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) under the supervision of the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB).
Oladosu Awoyemi, chairman, NVRC disclosed that the wheat variety, LACRI WHT 11 distributed would withstand the low relative humidity which is peculiar to Nigeria, in addition to being among the seven other varieties of crops presented before the committee for approval.
Awoyemi, however, added that the variety, based on its quality, will be an added advantage to bakers in the country due to the biological components contained in the crop.
Awoyemi said, “Other attributes of the wheat variety are; 90 to 95 days maturity, well adapted to irrigated conditions of the Sudano-Sahelian Zones, and potential yield of 7.1 tonnes per hectare.”
Similarly, Sunday Aladele, registrar NVRC, and chief executive officer, NACGRAB urged plant breeders, developers and crop scientists in the country and West Africa region to submit their nominations of crop varieties at the stipulated time.
He added that submissions of crop varieties at the stipulated time would enable NVRC to approve more crops at the next meeting, urging them to adhere to the compliance according to the Distinct Uniformity Stability (DUS) requirements as stated by NACGRAB.
He said, “The crop varieties must meet the DUS requirements of being distinct, uniform and stable to be accepted not only in Nigeria but in the whole West Africa region.”
Recently, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Application (ISAAA) announced that Nigeria is the first country to approve the use of Biotech in the cultivation of cowpea locally known as beans.
The use of biotech in crop cultivation has proven to be efficient; it does not only allow for crops to grow more and under more difficult circumstances, but it can also literally make them better.
Also, it promotes sustainable farming practices and even reduces the environmental impact of agriculture.