D I R E C T O R -G E N E R A L ,
National Biotechnology
Development Agency, NABDA,
Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, has explained
that the agency’s decision to
partner with research institutes has
led to the production of improved
seeds for farmers in the country.
Mr Ogbadu, who stated this
in Abuja, explained that the
institutes that NABDA partners
with are Institute of Agricultural
Research, IAR, Zaria and
African Agriculture Technology
Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya.
She said that improved seeds
would help the country in its self
subsistence drive because of the
huge population.
According to her, collaboration
with relevant research institutes
has resulted in the production of
improved seeds which the agency
has registered with National
Centre for Genetic Resources and
Biotechnology, NAGRAB.
“We have registered quite a
number of improved varieties
of crops at our centre, waiting
to be developed and released to
farmers. “Also, we have been
able to domesticate crops that
have been transformed to show
resistance to pests, improved
nutrients in the area of Vitamin A
addition and in the area of micro
nutrients addition.
“The crop that has been
developed with resistance to
pests is the BT cowpea, which is
referred to by the layman as the
black eyed beans.
“This has been transformed,
genetically worked upon by our
scientists to show resistance to
pests that normally destroy them
on the farm.
“Even though that
transformation did not take place
in the country, it was brought in
and it has been adopted into our
local variety.’’
She said that the traits and
characters of these seeds were
introduced into the local variety
to be receptive by Nigerian
farmers and the general public.
Ogbadu said that another
improved seed was the African
bio-fortified sorghum, which was
fortified with micro nutrients and
vitamins which was achieved
through genetic engineering.
“The third one is the cassava;
the transformed cassava with
Vitamin A. Carbohydrate cannot
provide all the compliments
of nutrients and so, it has been
fortified with Vitamin A.
“It is also yellow in colour so
that those who love yellow garri
can also have this garri produced
from this yellow cassava without
having to add palm oil.’’
She said that this had helped in
the diversified use of cassava and
other seeds that had been worked
on by scientists in the agency.
The director-general added
the partnership with other
relevant agencies had enabled the
organisation to achieve its mandate
to make biotechnology an engine
of growth for socio-economic
development of the country