Poisonous chemicals will no longer be used for the preservation of food, particularly seedlings, with the development of bioinsecticides, the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has said.
Bioinsecticides are organic substances harmless to man the environment, regarded by scientists as safe alternatives to Snipper as a crop insecticide.
The bioinsecticides are being produced by BioCrops Biotechnology Company Ltd, an indigenous company. The substances are set to replace harmful chemicals like Sniper.
This revelation was made at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NABDA and BioCrops held recently in Abuja.
Biotechnology is a valuable tool for addressing the several challenges of Nigeria in terms of food production, genetic improvement of living systems, health management, environmental sustainability and industrial growth, said Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu, at the signing ceremony.
“NABDA and BioCrops have today reached a historic landmark in their relationship by signing this MOU which will ultimately lead to immediate production of Nigerian developed and manufactured biotechnology products, such as biofertilisers, biopesticides, technology seeds and elite seedlings, including elite yam varieties promoted by IITA and YIISWA programme which are grown in the Air. This is in line with the Economic Diversification Agenda of the present administration.
“BioCrops today has brought synergies between farmers, top notch research institutions within the country, digital finance experts, novel market ready products and indeed game changers in the agricultural space.”
He said the feat by both organisations goes to show the seriousness with which the government of the day regards agriculture.
“Nigeria today has signified its readiness to promote and compete in the global village. This collaboration has attracted an initial funding of about N3.2 billion in its phased implementation and will produce close to 10,000 jobs that did not hitherto exist in this county.
“NABDA, through the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, has found a worthy partner that is research rich and product ready and that demonstrates the efficacy of Public Private Partnership when harnessed effectively.”
Nabasu described the partnership as “the beginning of good things to happen to bring back the lost glory of Nigeria’s economy.”
He added: “We sincerely welcome and acknowledge this memorandum as a significant forward in the quest of the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari at making Agriculture a main contributor to the Nigerian economy.
“Globally, science and technology is shaping development and the way people think and act. Government has demonstrated in time past its determination to make science and technology the hub on which the wheel of development revolves. Premised on this, the President has promised to make science and technology the country’s mainstay, and not to allow any research result go to waste ever in this country.”
The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology through its Agencies as a matter of policy, has been forging and supporting collaborations among Public and Private Institutions/Organisations to facilitate development, equity investment in projects and access to new revenue and capacity to service delivery for the fulfillment of the visions and aspirations of the national Science and Technology.
NABDA, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, is a public institution which has the mandate to acquire, domesticate, deploy, carry out research, coordinate, facilitate and promote biotechnology activities in Nigeria. BioCrops, a private biotechnology firm, is an ERGP Laboratory Incubatee of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning with a focus on peri-urban agriculture and novel products.