By Sylvester Thompson
The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) says it is committed to boosting agricultural productivity in the country.
This is contained in statement signed by Toyin Omozuwa ,Press Secretary to Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General, NABDA, and made available to the press in Abuja on Friday.
“Through innovative approaches and cutting-edge biotechnology solutions, NABDA is spearheading efforts aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity, improving crop yields and ensuring food self-sufficiency for the nation.
“Africa’s foremost biotechnology development agency, NABDA, carries out well-focused research and development in biotechnology, in priority areas of agriculture, health, industry, environment among others for national development,’’ the statement read.
Omozuwa said NABDA’s commitment to harnessing biotechnology solutions for sustainable national development was yielding significant fruits, particularly at the grassroots, where there was growing appreciation of biotechnology’s capabilities to improve livelihoods.
She said NABDA is a driving force in harnessing biotechnology to improve the quality of life for Nigerians and mitigate socioeconomic impediments to development.
Following President Tinubu’s recent declaration of a state of emergency on food security, the D-G of the agency was quoted in the statement as stating that NABDA aligned with the declaration.
Mustapha said “By harnessing the potential of biotechnology, NABDA is determined to revolutionise agriculture in Nigeria and ensure a sustainable and secure food supply.
“We are already collaborating with stakeholders, farmers, and researchers to tackle these challenges head-on.’’
The statement disclosed that NABDA, together with national and international partners is already driving Nigeria’s economic growth with the commercialisation of two genetically modified crops, Bt Cotton and Bt Cowpea.
Accordingly, farmers planted and harvested the improved variety of Bt. cowpea had attested to improved yields, reduction of pests, cost efficiency resulting from near-zero use of pesticides, and enhanced livelihood.
Other transgenic crops in the pipeline of commercialisation include TELA maize, HT soybean, among several others.
The agency has also revolutionised yam seedlings production. Its target of seven million yam seedlings has largely been successful with over two million produced and distributed to farmers.
Omozuwa said NABDA is promoting the adoption of modern biotechnology practices among farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
She said through capacity-building programmes, workshops, and training sessions, NABDA empowered farmers with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively utilise biotechnology tools and techniques.
“The NABDA has successfully introduced biotechnology techniques to improve livestock breeding and management.
“`By leveraging the power of biotechnology, NABDA has facilitated the production of healthier and more productive livestock, leading to increased meat and dairy production in Nigeria.
“In addition, NABDA is working towards a reduction in food waste through improved food processing, packaging and preservation techniques through biotechnology,” she said.
The statement assured that the agency’s ongoing efforts in biotechnology research and development, strategic collaborations, and capacity-building programmes would continue promote sustainable farming practices, and foster economic growth. (NAN)
Edited by Hajara Leman/Julius Toba-Jegede