Nigeria needs to harness indigenous bio-resources for economic development — NABDA DG

•NABDA DG, Prof. Alex Akpan
The Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpan, has said that Nigeria needs to start harnessing its indigenous bio-resources for economic sustainability and development.

Akpan disclosed this recently at the South-West Stakeholders Dialogue on the Nigerian Microbial Resources Heritage in Ile-Ife with the theme, ‘Strategies for Sustainability of Microbial Culture Collection (MCC) Programme’.

He said bioresources are the bedrock of biotechnology which must be properly harnessed for economic development, industrialisation, environmental sustainability and food security among others.

Akpan, who was represented by the Director of Environmental Biotechnology and Bio-conservation Department in the agency, Dr Gloria Obiah, noted that the mandate of the agency was to assist the nation to use biotechnology to drive the economy, said it was unfortunate that the nation’s indigenous bioresources were not being harnessed properly.

He stated that Nigeria needed to start harnessing, isolating, characterising, coordinating and preserving its indigenous bio-resources to benefit maximally from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“There is nothing we can do without bio-resources because that is what drives the process of development.

“Nigeria recently signed the AFCFTA agreement and it is now paramount that Nigeria as a nation becomes a centre of economic activities in the West Africa sub-region.

“For this to happen, we need to start harnessing, isolating, characterising, coordinating, storing and preserving our indigenous bio-resources,” Akpan said.

Also speaking, Prof. Bamidele Solomon, a former Director-General in the agency, said it was unfortunate that Nigeria focuses more on politics than science and development.

“We can see that the government of the United States of America and China were mixing politics with science for development,” he said.
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