The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Nigeria (OFAB) has told Nigerians that food crop costs, particularly beans, will plummet by the 2022 planting season.
Dr Rose Gidado, OFAB Nigeria Country Coordinator, said 32 farmers in the FCT and 36 states of the federation were given seedlings of the newly marketed BT Cowpea in July during the OFAB Day celebrations in Abuja.
She stated that the OFAB was already working with partners to license more seed firms in order to secure a large crop for farmers the next agricultural season.
While she blamed the high cost of beans on a lack of seedlings and a poor harvest, she promised farmers a bountiful crop of cowpeas next year.
“I know there is hunger in the land,” she remarked.
“We are only now beginning to commercialize our genetically engineered beans.
“Because this is the first year, this is just the beginning.
It will be too early to make a judgment, and shortage, as you may know, leads to a price increase.
“By next year we are going to have more seeds in the market and if there is availability, of course, prices will go down.
“But for this year, the seeds were sold for 1000 per kg. I think that is fair enough, because of the resources that we put in, but we need more resources to do more.
“Farmers are assured of high yield next year; the feelers we are getting from farmers is so good.
“FCT farmers are reporting that the seeds are growing like wildfire and that they are yielding.”
Dr Aliyu Madugu, Head of Planning, Research, and Statistics at the Agricultural Science Council of Nigeria (ARCN), said OFAB had succeeded in educating Nigerians about the benefits of biotechnology.
He claimed that biotechnology has resulted in improved cultivars with greater disease and insect resistance.
According to Madugu, the growing synergy between ARCN and its partners will almost certainly result in a drop in food prices in the future years, albeit it may not happen immediately.