The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NBDA), says Nigeria is faring very well in global biotechnology space.
Dr Rose Gidado, the Deputy Director, Agricultural Biotechnology Department, NBDA, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
Gidado said that biotechnology has come to stay in the country.
She expressed optimism that the recent signing of the Act establishing the NBDA by President Muhammadu Buhari would further spur the agency to do more.
Gidado said that biotechnology has a lot of benefits not only in agricultural sector but in the environment, medicine and industrial sector.
“We now have an Act establishing us but we have been in existence for over 20-years without it. Now that we have a legal backing, it will further spur us to do more.
“What this means is that we are being recognised. We are going to operate legally now and biotechnology has come to stay in Nigeria,” she said.
Gidado said that the benefits of biotechnology cut across many sectors of the economy.
“Biotechnology is not just in the area of agriculture, it is also in environment. It is used for environmental restoration, deforestation, mitigation of climate change effect, enhances the mitigation of green house gases.
“Also in the area of medicine, it is used for diagnostic, greater medicine, cheaper medicine and improved medicine service.
“It is used in the production of more enzymes and designing of food to meet the needs of some ailment like diabetes.
“Nigeria is faring very well in global biotechnology because we already have crops that have been comercialised,” she said.
Gidado noted that Nigeria was the first country to commercialise cotton and cowpea beans in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
“We have the cotton, cowpea, and Nigeria is the first country to comercialise cowpea in the world and Africa in 2019, while cotton was approved in 2018.
“Farmers have access to commercialised seeds and they are experiencing high yields.
“Our latest is the Tela maize which is currently undergoing trial phase with farmers in some parts of the country.
Gidado said that the agency needs more funds to upgrade its facilities to be able to do more in biotechnology.
“We need more funds in the area of crop and animal improvements,” she said.