Nigeria eyes $1.37tr global biotechnology market - THE NATION
Director General and Chief Executive, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, has called for an increased private sector to enable the nation to ride on a crest of entrepreneurial success and innovation to explore the global biotechnology market estimated at $1.37 trillion.
According to him, biotechnology is emerging as a sunrise sector with a number of Nigerian organisations demonstrating successes in bio innovation and bio manufacturing is a highly anticipated and sought-after outcome, adding that the country was warehousing a promising biotech industry that needs more attention.
Speaking at an Interactive session on Navigating Biotech Frontiers for Accurate Science Communication held in Lagos, Mustapha, indicated that a number of factors would aid the expansion of the sector, including demand for bio agriculture products boosted by integration of technology into plant breeding .
He continued that the agency is supporting the agriculture sector with the infrastructure to make a transition from small scale to science driven farming with research for advanced technologies.
He posited: “Biotechnology, as many of you know, is a transformative field that has the potential to address some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation and the world at large. From agriculture to healthcare, from environmental conservation to industrial innovation, biotechnology is at the forefront of driving positive change. However, for agricultural biotechnology to reach its full potential, it must be understood, accepted, and embraced by the public. It is our shared responsibility to ensure that accurate and balanced information about agricultural biotechnology is readily available to all Nigerians. This will empower them to make informed decisions about its applications and impacts on our society.”
He said for biotechnology to achieve its full impact, the media must play a crucial role in informing the public about advancements and their implications.
His words: “It is the bridge that connects complex scientific discoveries with the broader society, translating technical jargon into understandable language, and fostering informed discussions. Therefore, it is imperative that we engage in a constructive dialogue on how the media can better cover agricultural biotechnology, biosafety and related topics.”
Director General/CEO National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) Dr. Agnes Yemisi Asagbra, reiterated that only confirmed safe genetically modified organisms (GMOs) GMOs are permitted in Nigeria. She maintained that NBMA is committed to ensuring proper regulation of modern biotechnology and its products so that it does not cause harm to human health and the environment.
The agency, she explained, ensures this through the application of laws, policies, regulations, guidelines, knowledge, techniques, measures, equipment, and procedures for minimizing potential risks that modern biotechnology and GMOs might pose on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risks to human health and the environment.