The Federal Government of Nigeria has unveiled plans to harness the potential of biotechnology to address pressing national challenges, spanning agricultural productivity, healthcare and the opening of industries for global competitiveness.
During a recent facility tour of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Abuja, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji expressed the government’s commitment to leveraging biotechnology for transformative solutions.
He stressed that NABDA plays an indispensable role in driving innovation, economic development and sustainability in Nigeria. According to Nnaji, the agency’s mission is pivotal in bolstering food security and enhancing Nigeria’s capacity to produce sufficient, safe and nutritious food for its burgeoning population.
Highlighting Nigeria’s achievements in genetic technology adoption, Nnaji proudly stated that the nation was the first globally to release pod borer-resistant beans (cowpea) and the second in Africa to deregulate TELA maize, a drought-tolerant and insect-resistant variety that also provides protection against stem borers.
Furthermore, the agency has introduced innovative equipment to assess the bio-methane potential of biomass, a move expected to bring Nigeria closer to its 5 per cent biomass target. Nnaji underlined that this advancement would contribute to employment generation, particularly benefiting youths and women, especially in rural areas.
Nnaji also noted the transformative impact of biotechnology on cotton commercialization in the country, citing quality improvements and cost-effective pest management as pivotal factors that will reshape the cotton industry.
Earlier in the tour, the director-general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, expounded on the agency’s mission. He highlighted its role in promoting biotechnology activities and its dedication to aligning with national aspirations for food security, job and wealth creation, affordable healthcare delivery, and the establishment of a sustainable environment that fosters socio-economic development.
A statement from the deputy director of press and public relations, Atuora Obed emphasised NABDA’s commitment to driving progress, job creation and enhancing the lives of countless citizens through the transformative potential of biotechnology.