Prof. Sani Kayode, a Nigerian agro scientist and project manager for rice at African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has urged African countries to adopt biotechnologies to increase Agricultural productivity in the continent.
Speaking at the at the first ever Marcci – Corteva plant science symposium 2019 at Makerere university, Kayode said that more than 70% of Africa’s poor depend on Agriculture for livelihood.
“In order to develop the economies of Africa, we need to put a lot of effort in improving productivity. Demand for rice increases at 6%- 12% per year and Production is increasing at 3.4%. Therefore, we need to catch up with productivity. Agricultural production has to move up” he said
Kayode says biotechnologies help in reducing breeding period, regulation of transgenic products which assure safety of food, disease and pest tolerance, mitigation of climate change among others.
He also encouraged use of Public Private Partnership (PPP) to ensure food security in Africa.
“Use of Public Private Partnership in biotechnology product development and deployment along the entire product value chain is a game changer in enhancing good security and poverty reduction in Africa. Allow all stakeholders to participate in the entire value chain” he added
Dr. Charles Mugoya the chairperson National Biosafety committee of Uganda called on policy makers to heavily involve in building and strengthening food security.
“We need to tell policy makers that Science and Technology will help us address the old challenges of productivity,” he said
He added that policy makers need to embrace Human Capital through investment and skills at all levels of training, investment in infrastructure that will ensure affordable, accessible, reliable and sustainable energy, water etc, create an enabling environment to ensure establishment of framework Agricultural technologies intellectual property and facilitate regional and international collaborations.
He emphasized food availability, access, utilisation and food security.
Mugoya further said that there is a lot of food in this country but many people are still starving because they don’t have access to it.
“Almost 25% of population in Sub Saharan Africa is under malnourished. We can adopt science and technology to address all the constraints of food security,” he added
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) identified a food gap of 70% in expected calorie demand in 2050.
Mugoya emphasized conventional cross breeding technologies, transgenic crop technologies, irrigation technologies among others to address the above FAO research finding challenge.
The symposium was organized under the theme “sustainable Agricultural development from the Lab to the farmers”