The Federal Government has tasked the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) to intensify research in improving productivity and yield in animal farming in the country.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, gave the charge at the national stakeholders’ sensitization workshop on animal biotechnology application and regulatory perspectives organized by NABDA in collaboration with the African Union International Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Nairobi, Kenya; International Service for the Acquisition of Agric-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Nairobi, Kenya and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington D.C.
He said Nigeria must find ways to preserve and protect the wide variety of animals found in the country, pointing out that growing grass that is nutritious and requires limited supply of water to grow had become very important in the nation’s effort to encourage animal farming,
“This workshop will provide an opportunity for you to discuss important issues affecting animal agriculture in Africa. Such a dialogue like this is needed to help you come up with a well thought out position that should strengthen the use of biotechnology for animal agriculture. This will be beneficial not just for Nigeria and Africa, but for the whole world. I know that science, technology and innovation will help us solve the problems of today so as to help build a bright and prosperous future,” he stated, adding NABDA has a lot to do.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Mr Sabo Nanono, emphasised the need for participants to exchange ideas on how the country could adopt innovations in the biotechnology sector.
He urged the participants to factor-in the role of healthy plants in animal biotechnology and look at ways private sector investments could be leveraged on.
In his goodwill message, the FMST’s permanent secretary, Mr. Sunday Edet Akpan said governments at all levels should adopt and create viable policies on animal biotechnology.
He further called for more efforts on bio-technology adaptations and hailed the existing productive synergy between agriculture and animal biotechnology stakeholders.
Earlier, the director-general of NABDA, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, said the event was informed by the need to see how Nigeria could leverage on innovations in biotechnology which is known as genome editing, adding the participants would learn about innovations and developments in biotechnology and speed up adoptions and applications of these technologies to advance the sector.
Giving the workshop’s objectives, the country coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr. Rose Gidado, said the it intended to look at the current status of animal biotechnology in Nigeria and the regulatory approaches for same as well as strengthening the national capacity to sustainably use and conserve the indigenous animal genetic resources through institutionalizing national/regional policy, legal and technical instruments.