Agency Calls for Teamwork to Achieve Food, Nutrition Security
The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), has called for teamwork in achieving food and nutrition security for Nigeria.
The Director General of NABDA, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, made the call during the distribution of certificates to trainees of an online capacity building workshop on developing seed systems and adopting agricultural biotechnology in Asia and Africa, held in Abuja.
Speaking, Mustapha explained that the online training had the goal of developing executives who would drive policy development and reforms in biotech research and development in the country.
The NABDA DG added that the initiative was conceived to build scientists and researchers that understand the role of biotechnology innovations in advancing agriculture, seed production and trade.
He said, “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.
“At the end of 2016, more than half a billion children were living in countries affected by conflict, disasters and epidemics. Humanitarian crises are often characterized by limited access to safe food and clean water as well as disruptions to basic health and nutrition services, a lethal cocktail for malnourishment,’’ Mustapha pointed out.
According to him, the Federal Government moved to improve food security and agricultural productivity by establishing the NABDA.
The development, he added, was to ensure that Nigerians benefit from technology in the food value chain, noting that the agency was doing everything possible to deploy the science of genetic modification technology to combat hunger and other forms of malnutrition.
The NABDA DG, therefore, commended the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services for organizing the training, which benefitted 10 NABDA staff members, among others.
On her part, the Deputy Director and Country Coordinator of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr. Rose Gidado, said one of the objectives of the training was to support 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 adverse effects of climate change as well as ensure availability of high quality seeds to small-scale producers,” she added.