“Biotechnology is a promising way for mitigating the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on food security through the production of foods with longer shelf life, higher yields, increased nutritional content, shorter harvest time, disease and pest resistance and stress tolerance.”
The Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Nigeria chapter and Deputy Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Dr. Rose Gidado, disclosed this
at the just concluded Agrobusiness Times virtual national conference on food security in the post covid-19 pandemic era, with the theme: aggregating sustainable innovations for food security.
Dr. Gidado asserted that the application of agricultural biotechnology to create more fertile and resistant plant resources has been used to achieve food security in some advanced countries.
“To place Nigeria ahead of the Coronavirus, the government and other concerned stakeholders in the private sectors will need to create synergies in food technology, agriculture and biotechnology.”
• “In a time of pandemic as this when the restriction of movement is necessary to curbing the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government of Nigeria should introduce the following:
i. Automated machines for the planting of seeds while engaging the use of:
ii. Value Stream Mapping to ensure the proper management of the supply chain from farm to fork and identification of food loss-generating resources.
iii. Climate smart GM seeds that will reduce the need for routine farm practices while ensuring higher yields should be adopted by the government and other stakeholders.
iv. Nano nutrients should also be used to boost crop production.”
v. “Internet of Things (IoT) platforms,
vi. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Satellite imagery
viii. artificial technology and
ix. BIG Data can be used to facilitate the redistribution of foods by simplifying the communication between suppliers and consumers.
x. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and
xi. agricultural drones that have been proven as a practice to reduce human contact in agriculture (which is necessary to curbing the spread of novel coronavirus) can also be a good way to tackle the threat to food security that is posed by the coronavirus outbreak”.
Golden Rice, a case study
A perfect example of how the application of plant genetic modification can solve the problem of hunger and malnutrition is GOLDEN RICE which contains three transgenes that helps it to produce provitamin A.