The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has assured of National Assembly’s commitment to developing in-house capacity for the advancement and utilisation of biotechnology innovations in crop improvement.
Kalu said this in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the maiden conference of the Nigerian Plant Breeders Association (NPBA).
He said the lawmakers had taken significant strides in crop improvement with the recent passage of the Plant Variety Protection Bill 2021.
Kalu said the conference themed, “Advancing Plant Breeding through Biotechnology Innovation: Fostering one Health and Nigeria’s Agenda 2050,” underscored the imperative of embracing innovation.
He commended plant breeders for their efforts which enabled farmers to have access to diverse crop varieties.
Kalu said that it was incumbent upon the government to commit to funding agricultural innovations, thus motivating breeders to continue their crucial work.
He advised the country’s plant breeders to explore ways in which they could contribute to global food security, such as collaboration with international organisations.
The deputy speaker said that farmers should also share best practices as it would be instrumental in achieving Agenda 2050 goal.
He said the association was a noble profession, adding that no individual could excel in any other profession without the foundation of adequate and nutritious food.
“These crops, in turn, nourish our citizens, contributing to their overall well-being.
“We must underscore the vital role that plant breeding plays in ensuring food security and addressing malnutrition.”
He said with the global population steadily increasing, the country needed crop varieties that were not only resilient to climate change but also capable of providing higher yields and improved nutritional content.
Kalu said that government was committed to funding agricultural innovations in plant breeding.
According to him, it will motivate breeders to continue their crucial work of creating novel crop varieties capable of mitigating the challenges posed by our ever-changing climate.
“Biotechnology is the key to unlocking the full potential of plant breeding.
“Embracing biotechnological advancements allows us to accelerate the development of crop varieties,” he said.
He said Biotechnology had desirable traits such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and enhanced nutritional value.