NABDA, firm partner on agriculture inputs, food security
The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), established to implement policies aimed at promoting, coordinating, and setting research and development priority in biotechnology for Nigeria, will partner with a private firm, CONTEC Global Agro Limited (CGAL), for the production of agricultural inputs.
The partnership, aimed at achieving food security for the country, is expected to make Nigeria the hub of improved agro inputs for increased productivity of various crops in farms nationwide.
The Director General/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NABDA, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, disclosed this when he visited the company’s Tissue Culture Laboratories and other facilities in Maitama, Abuja recently.
A statement from the firm’s spokesman, Tunde Sanwo; and made available to The Guardian, said CGAL is looking at how to explore the inherent advantages in Tissue Culture (TC) technology for multiplication of quality seeds and plants for food security using best practices from the labs to the field.
The NARDA boss was said to have been impressed with the huge investment the company has made towards production of organic farm products for Nigerians.
Ogbadu, was quoted as pledging NABDA’s willingness to offer sections of its 72-hectare land for CGAL’s research activities, saying: “Our mandate at NABDA is to promote biotechnology in Nigeria. What I have seen here is highly impressive and it is definitely beyond what I had expected. I congratulate CGAL on this bold project.
“We look forward to partnering with you with a view to making great impact on the lives of the citizenry in no distant time from now.”
CGAL’s Managing Director, Thomas Chackunkal, who conducted Ogbadu round the facilities, said the way forward in meeting Nigeria’s food challenge is collaboration, stressing that the firm has developed 22 biological products through micro biological and tissue culture to assist the farmers increase their yields.
“When we thought of this investment here, our first concern was that how long it will take to break even. We did our calculation by looking at a minimum of seven years before breaking even,” Chackunkal was quoted.
He further explained, “We started this as a resource centre and basically the first step was the establishment of a micro-biology laboratory to analyse and find out what bio-fertiliser, organic fertiliser and bio-fungicides solutions that we can bring to the table.
“Today, we have 22 product formulations that we have made from the country and this is being done in collaboration with the Institute of Agriculture Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria; IITA; University of Ibadan; Imo State Polytechnic; and the Cocoa Research Institute, Ibadan among others,” Chackunkal said.
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