The Acting Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpa has said that over five (5million) farmers would be tested across the country for Covid-19 as approved by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
Prof. Akpa who disclosed this in his opening remarks during a webinar meeting on Thursday, said the approval was given by NCDC to test farmers who are the producers of food in the country, stressing, that most people don’t wash fruits before eating, so the test would help stop further spread of covid-19 across the country.
Speaking on a topic,” The National Media Submit on the Status of Agricultural Biotechnology Research in Nigeria, he said, the vaccine research project has been on for quiet sometimes and NABDA was the only agency to handled such project.
Alex also said, a lot of partners have joined them to achieve the task of producing vaccine locally, saying that covid-19 has opened the eyes of researchers to look inward and come out with a solution for the present pandemic.
The acting director general said, covid19 locally vaccine would be unfold here in Nigeria in few months to come.
Earlier, the National Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, Nigeria Chapter, Dr. Rose Gidado said, Agricultural Biotechnology has transformed farming into a profitable business.
She said, with the current state of Agriculture in Nigeria, it has become paramount to adopt the technology to improve productivity and revive industries through the sustainable development goal of zero hunger by 2030 for National development and well being of Nigeria.
Dr. Rose said, the objective of the meeting was to sensitized the people on the potentials of the innovation to aid decision making and adoption in Nigeria.
The Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba said, risk assessment was what the agency looked at before giving approval to any Genetically Modified products for field trial or consumption.
Dr. Rufus said, the entire processes take 13 years of any GM foods to be given an approval by the agency.
Prof. Chiedozie Eegsi. Project Manager of GM cassava said, Nigeria is the major producers of Cassava in the world and the poor farmers produce it.
He said, there are over 5.1 million malnourished people in Nigeria and 60percent of the vulnerable people are women and children from small holder farms.
Prof. Eegsi said technologies enhances food crops by delivering varieties of cassava genetically enhanced to pest, virus and diseases for provision of elevated nutrition.
The President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) , Arc. Kabir Ibrahim said Nigeria must embrace Biotechnology in order to meet up with food demands of the rising population.
All the researchers in their various presentation said, Nigeria is the highest producer of Rice, cowpea(beans), maize, cassava and wheat in Africa, but poorly managed and destroyed by pests.
The meeting featured Researchers, Principal investigator, PBR Cowpea. Prof. Ishyaku Mohammed, Prof. Dayo Philip, Federal University Lafia, Dr. Sylvester Oikeh, Project Manager TELLA Maize AATF, Dr. Kayode Abiola Sani, Project Manager Newest Rice and Journalist, Dr. Diran Onifade, Editor in chief, African Science Technology and Innovation Portal.
The event was jointly organized by NABMA, AATF and OFAB.