- Nigeria's agricultural sector is set to benefit from plans by the federal government to set up a nuclear research center
- Plans to set up the center with ROSATOM - Russia's state owned nuclear energy corporation, had been revealed earlier by the government
- Through the use of nuclear technology and knowledge, which the proposed research center will offer, insects could be controlled through: Sterile Insect Technique
An agriculturist, Ijeoma Njimezi, has revealed how Nigeria's agricultural sector will receive a boost through the federal government's plan to set up a nuclear research center.
The government had earlier revealed its plan to set up the center with ROSATOM - Russia's state owned nuclear energy corporation.
Besides serving as an eco-friendly means of generating electricity, nuclear technologies, which the proposed research center would offer, Njimezi said it could be adapted into different areas of agriculture. These she said include: insect control, food preservation and increasing crop yield.
Underscoring the benefits nuclear technology has over insect control, as opposed to the use of insecticides and pesticides, she explained: “The use of insecticides and pesticides, poses significant challenges to the environment. Insecticides are toxic and when used to fight insects they leave toxic residues on crops. This could pose challenges to human health. Besides, insects are known to develop resistance to pesticides.”
However, through the use of nuclear technology and knowledge, which the proposed research center will offer, she stressed insects could be controlled through: Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). This method, she informed, involves se*ually sterilizing male insects via radiation.
“Such insects are subsequently released into the wild. When such male insects mate with females no offspring are produced. Moreover, irradiated insects do not become radioactive, thus posing no threat to people who come into contact with them,” she added.
In the area of food processing, nuclear technology, she stressed, could be used in food preservation, through food irradiation.
Her words: “This technique neutralizes the reproductive abilities of microorganisms, which decomposes food, through controlled amounts of ionizing radiation. Food irradiation, poses significant advantages over conventional food preservation techniques, since it poses very little changes to the nutritional value, texture, taste and appearance of food.”
Throwing light on how nuclear technology could be adapted to increase crop yield, she said:
“Nuclear technology, can be used in tagging fertilizers with isotopes that determine how plants use up nutrients to a large extent.
“Nuclear technology can also aid in water use and soil management, through moisture probes, which make use of neutron meters to determine soil moisture. This could optimize irrigation practices - thus conserving water in arid areas.”
READ ALSO: Nigeria set to build nuclear power plants
Meanwhile, officials of Nigeria's Nuclear Regulatory Agency and the Atomic Energy Commission are billed to participate in the 10th edition of ATOMEXPO.
Legit.ng gathered that the international forum seeks global partnerships on peaceful uses of atomic energy.
Billed to hold in the Russian city of Sochi, the event will be held at the city’s Main Media Centre - between May, Monday 14, to Wednesday, 16.
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