OFAB is Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa and is a platform created to manage a range of platforms for sharing knowledge and for sharing scientific research on biotechnology that will raise the profile of this technology. It’s also for informed policy decision making made to guide policy makers who are always confronted with contradictory sources of information.
The technology right now is being misinterpreted. There are also moves to remove a lot of politics in biotechnology in agriculture as a move to enhance food security in Africa.
Plans for 2017
Plans for 2017 are almost exhausted. A series of activities have been done since May 2017. OFAB had a session with different cadres of professionals such biotech society of Nigeria genetic society of Nigeria and others; also thereafter the Nigerian Medical Association was invited. Agencies of government were also invited. Some promoters were also invited. As science is multi-faceted, OFAB desired to rub minds with different associations.
“If you’re a specialist in one area, and you’re not a specialist in another area, it’s always good to meet with others and share what knowledge we have with them,” says the National Coordinator, OFAB Nigeria, Dr Rose Gidado. “What we do is just to enhance good uptake and to give an enabling environment for the adoption of this technology because we are marching towards commercialization.”
The major session for OFAB in 2017 was held at North-East regional part of Nigeria. The session was held with Taraba State Government, the policy makers, the legislative body, the farmers, the civil society, even the youths were all on hand. Some of the projects embarked upon by the people of Taraba were also seen and OFAB was pleased with the knowledge that people in that state understand the technology better.
Embracing Neo Technology and Partnerships
According to Gidado, OFAB is not commercializing biotechnology at this time but is well on the way when it comes to sharing information and expanding knowledge. This important so that by the time this product is available to farmers far and near, it would not be rejected. For now, the paramount thing to do is create more awareness.
Farmers believe in practical experiences and need to be convinced of the importance of this process.
Speaking of partnership, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Kenya has offered immense help even before OFAB had a regulatory framework. This has been a major source of funding for OFAB and the other projects that OFAB is involved in.
AATF is an international not-for-profit organization. Based in Nairobi, what AATF does is give support to farmers internationally so the farmers can have access and be able to empower themselves.