Home News Imo Youth Vanguard Urged to Utilize Opportunities in Agricultural Biotechnology

Imo Youth Vanguard Urged to Utilize Opportunities in Agricultural Biotechnology

By Grace Ofurum

Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology ( OFAB) with the support of National Biotechnology Research Development Agency (NBRDA), has inaugurated biotechnology in Imo State

Agricultural biotechnology advocacy was established in the State with the aim of creating a platform for young people who are passionate about Agriculture and biotechnology to learn and create a forum for the youth to network, collaborate and share knowledge and experience in Agricultural biotechnology amongst other objectives.

Speaking at a one-day workshop with the Theme: Cultivating Tomorrow’s Agricultural Innovators: Inaugural Workshop for the Agricultural Biotechnology Youth Vanguard which was held in Owerri on Thursday for young farmers,
the Director General and CEO of NBRDA, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha in his welcome address stated that the significance of the event is to empower the youths to become ambassadors of biotechnology and agents of change in their various communities.

The CEO noted that the world is facing difficult challenges ranging from climate change, food insecurity and health care disparities hence the introduction of biotechnology to address some of the issues.

According to the DG, the youth vanguard is for learning, Collaboration and advocacy
He said, ” it’s imperative that we equip our youths with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to leverage biotechnology for sustainable development and societal progress’

He further urged young people to key into the program and expand their horizon to challenge themselves and to seek for roles they can play for the sustainability of the initiative.

He also advised the participants to remain committed in promoting the responsible and ethical use of biotechnology for sustainable development.

He further assured that, “the agency has the mandate of promoting, coordinating and deploying cutting edge biotechnology research and development, processes and products for the socio economic well-being of the nation and to make Biotechnology an engine of growth for the socio economic development of Nigeria”

The Imo state Governor Senator Hope Uzodimma while addressing the participants, said the role of biotechnology in the nation cannot be over emphasized as it addresses the issues of food insecurity and sustainable Agriculture to combating attack of crops by diseases to improving the healthcare.

The Governor represented by the Director General Imo State Investment Promotion Agency (ISIPA), prof Jude Nzeako expressed satisfaction with the commitment and the passion of the youths who has embraced Agriculture and chosen to become the ambassadors of biotechnology. He assured that the Passion will advance biotechnology in the state. According to him engaging the youths in exploration and application of biotechnological solutions will prepare them for future jobs but also position the state as a hub of innovation and excellence in biotechnology.

He further urged the youth to strive to upholding the highest ethical standards in their research and innovation.

He said: “We must strive to uphold the highest ethical standards in our research and innovation efforts and to use biotechnology as a force for good in the world. In closing, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the inaugural members of the Biotechnology Youth Vanguard, Imo State chapter”

The governor further commended the organizers of the occasion for their thoughtful initiative in organising such occasions.

In her presentation on The Nigerian Agricultural Biotechnology Journey: An Extensive Exploration, the Director of Agriculture Biotechnology Department, National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency, Dr Rose S.M Gidado, noted that Nigeria with the population of over 400 million has problems of low productivity, pests and diseases, climate change, post harvest losses amongst others . She explained that Agricultural Biotechnology is a collection of scientific techniques used to improve plants, animals and micro organism.

Also Biotechnology enhanced breeders ability to make improvements in crops and livestock and enables improvement s that are not possible with traditional crossing of related species alone.

According to her, the challenges of Agriculture includes improvement methods reaching their limits as Agricultural growth is now 19 percent compared to 37 percent, Agricultural growth now 1 percent compared to 3percernt in 1970s, low productivity as aging farmers declining number of farmers, increase in population, the youth shunning agriculture for white collar jobs in cities all, desertification in Nigeria amongst others hence the need for Agricultural Biotechnology

She explained that Modern biotechnology will not replace traditional Agriculture but will provide tools. According to her the use of Modern biotechnology is beneficial as it will make the potential for genetic improvements to be more efficient and precise compared to breeding, beneficial genes and traits found in other organisms can be transmitted to crops and livestock species and solutions to agricultural problems is in the seed rather than external inputs.

She noted that inauguration of the youth vanguard will serve as a platform for nurturing talents, fostering innovation and driving progress in this critical time.


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