Samuel Bello, Abuja
In a bid to boost cotton production and rejuvenate ailing textile industries, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, has said the newly-released transgenic cotton seeds into the country, is not harmful to human beings.
Speaking during a World Press Conference on ‘The Release of Transgenic Hybrid Cotton Varieties into the Nigerian Seed Market’, in Abuja, Onu challenged critics who have consistently stood against the release of cotton to the Nigerian market to prove otherwise scientifically.
According to the minister, “Presently, the BT cotton will cause a 24 percent increase in cotton yield per hectare through reduced pest damages and a 50 percent gain in cotton profit among smallholders as well as revamp the textile industries.
“We want those who are against BT cotton to prove to us scientifically that it is harmful to human beings.”
On his part, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said for Nigeria to make the needed progress among the comity of nations, there should be a synergy among research institutes, the industry and universities.
In the words of Ogbeh, “I will like to say we can blame every government that comes, sometimes because of today’s problems with something that happened 20 to 30 years ago, we didn’t watch or were not cautious enough.
“Importation of everything from toothpicks to fruit juice, pencils to erasers, all of these has really created problems for you and I.
“This release of this variety of cotton, particularly cheers my heart. What I am wearing is six metres of material.
“That’s to tell you how much material we use in this country to clothe ourselves. Having to import all that has contributed immensely to Nigeria’s economy.”