The Director General (DG) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, weekend said the future of Nigeria’s food security lies in its ability to adopt necessary technologies (Biotechnology) as its engine room for fight against hunger.
Addressing a cross section of stakeholders at the unveiling of the highly improved PBR Cowpea/Bean variety at the: Eat is Believing-Biotech Beans Advocacy Programme at the NABDA Headquarters in Abuja, which which include delegates from Ghana led by the Chairman Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr. Emmanuel Marfor and the Ranking Member, Parliamentary Select Committee on Prof. Ebenezer Okletey Terlarbi, Policy Makers, Farmers, Regulators on PBR Cowpea/Bean with a view to further enhancing scientific bilateral collaboration across Africa for food sustainability.
Biotechnology, according to the NABDA boss, is a cutting-edge technology of the 21st century that has proven world -wide to enhance productivity, reduce drudgery, and increase yields, explaining that it has brought about enhancement of food security in agriculture and economic growth.
Mustapha, said: “NABDA, based on her mandate, is therefore at the forefront of Biotechnology deployment and domestication in Nigeria in the four sectors of the economy-Agriculture, Health Environment and Industry in order to respond positively to national aspirations on food security, job/wealth creation, affordable healthcare delivery, industrialization and sustainable environment.
He was excited that the PBR Cowpea/Bean is a classic example of how the technology can provide solutions to one of the major challenges confronting cowpea farming.
“Needless, I bother you with the long history of several attempts by cowpea breeders who tried to find solutions to ravaging attacks of Maruca. For many years without success in the past, this technology has taken care of that and its potentials to improve other crops have started emerging. Farmers in Nigeria are excited with the performance of this new variety and giving testimonies. There are videos of this.
“Going down the history lane of Bt. Cowpea/Bean project in Nigeria, NABDA in carrying out her mandate of biotechnology facilitation, and as a requisite for compliance to biosafety regulation, in 2010/2011, in partnership with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Kenya, designed, constructed a level -2 containment facility, which was used for Biosafety containment studies at International Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, where this project was developed.” He said.