Biotechnology as a Change Agent for National Development: Review in The Gambia

  • Alpha Kargbo School of Arts and Sciences, University of The Gambia, Department of Biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
  • Lamin K.M Fatty School of Agriculture, University of The Gambia
  • Alphonse Mendy National Public Health Laboratories, Kotu, The Gambia, Department of Biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
  • Joseph Yahaya Department of Biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
  • Lamin Dibba Department of Biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
Keywords: Biotechnology, Gambia, Agriculture, Food security, Climate change and innovation

Abstract

Biotechnology is an important tool which can ensure the production of crop that will have longer shelf live, drought resistant, high saline tolerance, ability to withstand adverse conditions among others. The Gambia among the low-income West African countries, where agriculture is practiced by two-thirds of its citizens and couple with global population which is now around 7 billion predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, the Gambian government really needs to act fast and positively in welcoming genetically modified crops if it’s to be able to feed its population now roughly around 2 million people. Application of Biotechnology in crop and animal farming through genetic engineering has led to the development of crops with desirable characteristics such as crop varieties that cope better with drought and salinity, crops that more resistant to pest and diseases and crops that use nutrients more efficiently. This can help transform The Gambia into a country with a robust agriculture capable of not feeding the nation but also generating substantial foreign exchange. Through Agricultural biotechnology, this looming crisis can be averted  eradicating malnutrition by ensuring food self-sufficiency through the production of resistant crops to pests and diseases, having longer shelf-lives, higher nutritional content and palatability, higher yields and early maturity period, tolerant to adverse weather and soil conditions. Achieving food sufficiency which is a direct consequence of a flourishing agricultural sector will facilitate a shift from other natural resources as a source of foreign exchange thus promoting economic diversity through agriculture.

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Published
2020-02-01
Section
Articles