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Field trials and regulatory assessments for genetically modified potato varieties in Nigeria

In Nigeria, genetically modified potato varieties are currently undergoing field trials and regulatory assessments for widespread cultivation. These developments are part of efforts to combat diseases affecting potato farming in the country. Dr Charles Amadi, the Principal Investigator of the Global Biotechnology Potato Partnership (GBPP), disclosed this information during an interactive session with journalists at the National Institute for policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Jos, Plateau State.

Dr Amadi highlighted that the GBPP's goal is to ensure the safety and efficacy of these genetically modified potato varieties through comprehensive field trials and regulatory assessments. The initiative also focuses on building capacity and providing training for farmers, extension workers, and regulators to facilitate the adoption and effective management of these biotechnological innovations. By improving food security through increased potato yields and reducing crop losses due to diseases and pests, the GBPP aims to bolster the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by offering them more resilient and productive potato varieties.

"We are required by law to conduct regulatory, national performance, and on-farm trials before the varieties can be released," Dr Amadi stated, emphasizing the necessity of submitting dossiers from the regulatory trial to the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for environmental release consideration. "By eliminating late blight disease, your potato crop yield will be increased and stabilized enabling you to have more food and make more money." Additionally, the late blight-resistant potato is designed to be safe and can significantly reduce the need for fungicides by 90%, leading to lower labor costs, stable yields, and improved livelihoods for families while also minimizing the environmental impact of fungicide use.

This initiative, which has completed one year of trials, is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership.


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