ABUJA – The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has said that it will strengthen the biotechnology centres established across the six geopolitical zones and make them accessible to grassroot farmers.
Mr Babajide Iletoogun, the agency’s Director of Media, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Iletoogun said that in addition to the six centres of excellence, seven biotechnology centres had also been set up in institutions across the six geopolitical zones in the country including the FCT.
According to him, the centres were established to assist the institutions in developing manpower and conduct research in biotechnology, to enable grassroots farmers to have access to research reports.
He said the agency was also working toward assisting farmers in the rural areas them to improve on their crops in order to reduce the poverty level.
Iletoogun said that the agency was collaborating with relevant international agencies such as the African Conservation Centre (ACC) Kenya; African Agricultural Technology Foundation, African Harvest, Kenya and other relevant ministries in the country.
He further said that the agency was also partnering with the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State.
“We are working with the National Cereal Crops Research Institute, Badegi, Niger State, to improve on rice.
“Cassava has been improved such that it can be used for drinks among other products, and also fortified with vitamins just as soya beans is also being improved.’’
In a separate interview, a Director on Bioresources Development, told NAN that collaboration with university and research centres would optimise productivity and create an enabling environment for research activities in the country.
He explained that NABDA’s mandate is to promote biotechnology activities that positively respond to national aspiration on food security, job and wealth creation, affordable healthcare delivery and sustainable environment.
According to him, the agency has established biotechnology centres at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (South East); University of Port Harcourt (South South); University of Ibadan (South West); University of Maiduguri (North East); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (North West); and University of Jos (North central).
He said that the agency also set up the Bio-resources Development Centre at Odi, Bayelsa State, the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) located in Moor Plantation, Ibadan. (NAN)