NABDA Set To Launch Tela Maize, Other GM Products

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L-R: The director-general, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha and the chairman, NABDA governing board, Chief Clement Ebri during the NABDA day at the ongoing STI expo in Abuja.

The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has set out to launch one of its products, ‘Tela’ maize, which is drought-resistant and capable of providing indirect jobs for many Nigerians.

The agency’s director-general, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, muted this during the NABDA day at the ongoing Science, Technology and Innovation Expo 2022, tagged ‘Biotechnology as an innovative tool for national economic growth’ in Abuja.

Mustapha said that about 300 million people depend on maize in Africa and with the deployment of ‘Tela’ maize, people can see value for their money. This, he said, could help them go into the production of soya beans which can go a long way in improving the economy.

He said the ‘Tela’ maize project has yielded up to17 per cent increase, brought about a reduction in the number of sprays and will contribute to addressing food security and impact of climate change in Africa. He also mentioned that farmers in Nigeria will greatly benefit from rapid deregulation and commercialisation of the maize variety.

Also, the NABDA boss disclosed that other products exhibited during the expo, such as the herbicide-tolerant soya beans, the Bt cotton and cowpea are available for purchase.

“We have brought bio-fertiliser which is unique, of high quality, contributes to a cleaner environment and gives a high yield. All we have brought is organic, the chemical is harmless and cheap to produce. I am calling on all those interested in investing in science and technology to come forward and do so, because this is the essence of this expo. If we have people investing, we can move forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, the chairman, NABDA governing board, Chief Clement Ebri, acknowledged the agency’s presentation as illuminating and expressed the belief that the event will ignite economic and social prosperity for people.

“Most of these things should be from the grassroots because if everybody begins to use GT products, it will become more normal for our country and, with that, I am sure growth will spread to all nooks and crannies of the country,” he said.

In her remarks, the country coordinator of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr. Rose Gidado, during the food launch, attested that Bt food have been highly scrutinized, regulated, are safe, nutritious and no different from naturally grown food.

“A lot of research goes on before it is finally released for consumption. We have to carry out research for, at least, 14 years just to make sure it is safe. Safety is never compromised,” she assured.

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