Biotech: Nigeria Joins List of Top African GM Crop Drivers

Nigeria is now among the six African countries growing genetically modified (GM) crops, a report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has revealed.

According to the ISAAA Global Status of Commercialised Biotech crops report, Nigeria joined five other African countries; Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa, Sudan, and Swaziland, to attain that feat.

GM crops, also known as biotech crops are plants grown using genetic engineering methods in which the DNA of each crop is modified to suit various needs.

Some of such needs could be to improve resistance to pests, diseases and environmental conditions. Genetic modification has also been adopted to boost nutrient levels in crops.

The report launched via a webinar on Monday revealed that all six countries grew three GM crops on approximately three million hectares at the end of 2019.

The crops included maize, soybean and cotton, the report indicated.

It would be recalled that Nigeria had approved its first pest-resistant GM cotton and cowpea, in 2019, while recently approving the commercialisation of the former.

The report further noted that a seventh country- Kenya, might soon join the group, as it had recently approved the cultivation of bt-cotton.

It asserted that Africa is championing world progress in regards to the adoption of biotech cropping practices.

The continent doubled the number of countries planting biotech crops from three in 2018 to six in 2019, the report explained.


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