The Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, has called for teamwork in the bid to have a food and nutrition secured Nigeria.
Mustapha made the call during the distribution of certificates to trainees on online capacity building for developing seed systems and adopting agricultural biotechnology in Asia and Africa in Abuja recently.
The NABDA DG, who commended the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services for organising the training, including 10 NABDA staff members, urged that all hands must be on deck.
He said the online training had the goal of developing executives who would drive policy development and reforms in biotech research and development.
He noted that it also built scientists and researchers with a strong grasp of the role of biotechnology innovations in advancing agriculture, seed production and trade.
“The training came at a very critical time when the state of food and nutrition security was already at an alarming stage in Africa. The world is facing an unprecedented number of humanitarian situations today. Protracted conflicts, natural disasters and devastating food insecurity grip communities around the world threatening lives and livelihoods.
“By the end of 2016, more than half a billion children were living in countries affected by conflict, disasters and epidemics. Humanitarian crises are often characterised by limited access to safe food and clean water as well as disruptions to basic health and nutrition services, a lethal cocktail for malnourishment,’’ he said.
Mustapha said the Federal Government deemed it fit to improve food security and agricultural productivity by establishing the NABDA. This, he added, was in order to ensure that Nigerians benefit from the technology.
Mustapha said the agency was doing everything possible to deploy the science of genetic modification technology to combat hunger and other forms of malnutrition.
Deputy Director and Country Coordinator of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr. Rose Gidado, listed the objectives of the training to include, “support of the incorporation of biotech and innovative breeding techniques into seed sector improvement initiatives. It was also to share ways in which biotech can advance food security and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change as well as ensure availability of high quality seeds to small scale producers.”
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