Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, has said the agency’s bioenergy development programme designed to adapt anaerobic digestion technology for biogas production, can create 10,000 jobs along the value chains.
Mustapha stated this in a special presentation at the just concluded science technology and innovation expo by the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Abuja with the theme, “Actualising Effective Diversification of Nigerian Economy Through STI.”
In his presentation, Mustapha emphasised the significant role the application of modern biotechnology can play in the diversification of the country’s economy.
He said the Agency “has developed prototype digesters and enhanced bioenergy biochemical procedure for improved biogas generation from biodegradable organic feedstock.
“The digesters, which are in 250 litres, 500Liters and 1,000 litres and the optimization formula, are designed to serve households, small and medium enterprises and to assist in valorisation of biodegradable feedstock.
“NABDA has patented the technology and MoA was signed with the Rural Electrification Agency for deployment of the technology to rural communities. It is capable of creating 10,000 jobs for unemployed youth and women and improving environmental hygiene.”
Identifying the usefulness of biotechnology in the areas of health/medicine, agriculture, industry and environment, he noted that biotechnology “makes use of biological systems and organisms to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet, and plays a key role in protecting our planet’s resources, driving a strong economy, and enhancing people’s lives.
“It is predicted that by the year 2050 the world’s population will be 9.7 billion people, nearly 2 billion more than we currently have on our planet.
“These people will depend on biotechnological innovation to create viable ways to produce the food we grow, the materials we use, and the fuel that helps transport us.
“Biotechnology gives us solutions derived from nature that drive food and farm innovation, bio-based manufacturing, and the utilization of cleaner energy,” he added.
Mustapha highlighted the agency’s research efforts towards enhancing crop yields for quality and improved food production through genetic modification in agricultural biotechnology.
On the resistant leguminous crops, he said: “More than 7.4 million tons of dried cowpea was produced worldwide with Africa producing nearly 7.1 million tons (IITA, 2017).
“Nigeria as major producer and consumer accounted for 48 percent of production in Africa and 46 percent worldwide. The Grains cultivated on 7 million hectares of land with an Average yield of 350 Kg/ha.
“Therefore, the need to control pest cannot be overemphasized as: (there is) up to 90 percent yield loss for Grains to Maruca (one of the most devastating insect pests of cowpea in Africa); Estimated Revenue loss at 400kg/ha – 35.52 billion naira; A threat to Food and nutritional security.
“Socio-economic Benefit: A 20 percent yield increase per hectare translates to forty-eight billion naira (N48, 000, 000,000) annually at N120, 000 per tonne which also contribute to addressing the national cowpea demand deficit of about 500,000 tons and also improve the national productivity average of 350kg/hectare; Job and wealth creation; export of cowpea to other countries and increase in GDP.”
The NABDA helmsman disclosed that NABDA is about to release Tela Maize, a drought tolerant and insect resistant variety to increase food production and promote economic diversification.