The Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, said Nigeria recorded success through the genetic improvement of livestock for milk and meat production.
Mustapha said this in an interview on Monday, April 3, 2023, in Abuja.
“We are successful in terms of inseminating the cows and now we are waiting for the first generation (F1) to be produced.
“These F1 are going to be genetically checked to see what characters they have taken,’’ he said.
The D-G said the success in terms of inseminating the cows and success in the area of maintaining the pregnancy were all recorded.
“Now, we’re just waiting for the delivery of the first generation cows in April and that is a success story, which means that Nigeria will have its first breed of these livestock.”
Mustapha expressed delight that the climatic condition the new breed of cattle were going to face would be normal and congenial to them.
He said that was because they had made sure that the semen used in inseminating the cows possessed similar characteristics with Nigeria’s condition.
He assured that harmonising the semen with Nigeria`s climatic condition had been taken care of, which was the major issue farmers faced with already developed variety of livestock imported into the country.
“So, in our own case, if we have done it to suit our climatic condition, it means that this is a success.
“What we are hoping to see is the character they have taken in producing the milk quantity.
“At least we are expecting 50 litres per cow a day and if we are lucky to have it, that also reflects success,’’ Mustapha said.
The NABDA boss hinted that their target was to inseminate 2,500 to 5,000 cows this year when they have the resources with the possibility of inseminating more than that.
He lamented that the basic challenge inhibiting insemination of this number of cows for productivity centered on resources.
He said with adequate resources, the project would continue as they would increase the number of cows to be inseminated.
“So, that is a success story and I’m glad you asked me this.’’
Mustapha said the launching of the improved variety of livestock and cattle in the country would take place in April.
Responding to the immediate project embarked upon by NABDA, he mentioned using genome editing to increase the lifespan of shelf life of tomatoes, adding that this was very important.
According to the D-G, the project is a big one considering the amount of money expended on the production of tomatoes with the amount lost from post-harvest losses.
He said the post-harvest losses were due to climate and other chemical activities occurring within the tomato between the period of harvest and consumption.
“I think it’s very important that we take the tomatoes issue seriously so that we can fix it.
“When we fix this a lot of money is going to come into the country; we are supposed to be exporting tomatoes across African countries and even outside Africa,’’ he said.
The D-G maintained that there were many African countries in need of tomatoes, but unfortunately due to how fragile it was, it could not be exported.
He said following this, the agency in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency (AUDANEPAD), was embarking on the project as all machineries were in place.
By Sylvester Thompson