Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (Nigeria gets Confined Field Trial Facility For Hybrid Rice)

The African Agricultural
Technology Foundation (AATF)
has commissioned
a multi-million naira Confined Field Trial (CFT) facility for
Nitrogen-use Efficient, Water-use
Efficient and Salt Tolerant (NEWEST)
rice for Africa at National Cereal
Research Institute, Badeggi, Niger State.

The CFT facility which is valued at $300,000 will serve a trial ground for high technology rice
production for Nigeria and Africa
project.

Nitrogen-use Efficient, Water-use
Efficient and Salt Tolerant
(NEWEST)
rice for Africa is a cutting edge
technology that employs the tool
of biotechnology to genetically improve African rice variety called NERICA.
Commissioning the facility, the Head of Service and outgoing
Permanent
Secretary of Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita
described the facility as a timely
intervention to the yearning and
aspiration of the present
administration to end rice importation and
make Nigeria food basket of Africa.

She said that deliberate efforts
were made on the part of government
to encourage scientific incursion
into agriculture via policy measures
specifically designed to encourage research and
development and
adoption of these technologies.

‘‘When I think about Nigerian agricultural development today, I
cannot help but remember how
promising things looked some few decades back.’’
Ita who attributed the Nigerian
agricultural challenges on
reduction in funding and under-investment
particularly in modern agricultural
science.

‘‘Funding to agriculture, to
universities and to research centres fell
steadily and steeply. Too many of the gains we had made were reversed.
Our universities lost good people.
The quality of education declined,’’ she said.

The Executive Director, African
Agricultural Technology
Foundation
(AATF), Dr. Dennis Kyetere in his
remarks said the NEWEST rice is
expected to address the challenge of low rice production
in Nigeria with higher yielding capability and subsequently make the country major rice exporter in the
coming years.

Justifying the efficacy of the new facility, the AATF Chief explained that the climate smart technology will focus more on ameliorating the perennial constraints of nitrogen deficiency, drought and salinity in rice production.

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