Nigeria – FG, AATF Inaugurate First Confined Field Trial Facility for Genetically Improved Rice Production

— Written By

Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The federal government and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) on Wednesday inaugurated Nigeria’s first Confined Field Trial (CFT) facility for the production of a genetically improved African rice variety known as Nitrogen-use efficient, Water-use efficient and salt-tolerant (NEWEST) aimed at addressing the country’s food challenge.

The Acting Head of Service (HoS) of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, who was represented by Mr. Abayomi Oguntunde, Director, Bio-Resources Technology, Federal Ministry of Science Technology, and the Executive Director, AATF, Mr. Dennis Kyetere, who spoke at the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) in Badeggi, Niger State, averred that the project was aimed at increasing food productivity in the continent and Nigeria in particular.

THISDAY however gathered from AATF Project Coordinator, Mr. Kayode Sanni, that the technology would be used from 2016 to accelerate the development of improved food produce.

The HoS, admitted that that Nigeria’s food crisis called for the use of smart biotechnology tools to address the embarrassing situation.

Oyo-Ita said: “This project which is a multiple-stakeholders partnership is being coordinated by AATF to develop genetically improved Africa rice varieties with enhanced agronomic traits or better yields under abiotic stress.”
She said NEWEST rice was a clear pointer on the way forward for agricultural development in the country.

While thanking AATF, she promised that government would ensure its best use and that the purpose of its instalment would be attained through meeting the country’s rice needs.

She said the current administration had pledged significant investment in agricultural science to boost food and industrial production and also encourage the private sector to do the same.

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