Nigeria’s first-ever biotech food crop, Bt Cowpea is set to enhance food security and boost nutrition in country.
The Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Mission Nigeria, Gerald Smith, disclosed this while speaking at the unveiling of a nutrition outreach “Eating is Believing” in Lagos.
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency had organised the outreach in a bid to increase awareness of the crop, thereby increasing consumption of Bt cowpea.
According to Smith, the outreach highlights the nutritional facts and health benefits of the transgenic bean while reinforcing its safety.
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“The commercialization of the transgenic bean underscores that extensive food safety studies were conducted to demonstrate that it is safe for human consumption,” Smith said.
He added that “The live evaluation addressed critical issues about taste and preference and the eventual planting of Bt cowpea by smallholder farmers will contribute to Nigeria’s production goals, thereby serving as a model for other countries across sub-Saharan Africa”.
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria collaborated with National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), African Agricultural Technology Foundation, (AATF), National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) and Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa and the All-Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) to organize outreach.
“Eating is Believing” saw catering professionals cook the crop in various forms such as bean cake (Akara), bean pudding (moimoi), and beans. The event included nutrition education and a life sensory evaluation of Bt cowpea.
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