The Vice Chancellor of National Open University (NOUN), Professor Vincent Tenebe has identified more research and development in the Biotechnology sector as key to address food insecurity and health care delivery in Nigeria.
He disclosed this at the 27th annual International Conference of the Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN) held in Kaduna yesterday.
Professor Tenebe who was the Chairman of the Conference said the world is witnessing a new revolution after the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and that is Biotechnology.
The NOUN Vice Chancellor who defined Biotechnology as the process of using living things in the technology of producing organism and materials that will enhance speedy reproduction of the same material, has turn to a worldwide accepted phenomenon that Nigeria cannot be left out.
“The biotechnology/photosynthesis process provides food for man, affordable health delivery in form of alternative theraphy or herbal medicine and the provision of material for shelter or materials for rapid industrialization.
“Biotechnology became important due to the declining soil productivity/food insecurity, general environmental degradation (pollution, climate change, drought, flood, extinction of desirable species and a reduction in health status and social/moral value in the society,” he said.
Prof. Tenebe informed the gathering that biotechnology is environmental friendly, economic viable and socially just.
In his own remarks, the Director General of Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis and Onchocerciasis Research (NITR), Professor Mohammed Mamman said it is time to increase public understanding of what biotechnology is and how its application can enrich the country.
He therefore called on government at all level to garner the political will to adequately fund research institute and tertiary academic institutions in order to enhance research.
“Nigeria should reap the numerous benefits abound from its expert biotechnologists in the diaspora. In the absence of such critical step, the nation shall continue to be a consumer and importer but not a producer of biotechnology products and innovation,” Mamman stated.
Earlier, the National President of Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN), Professor James Ogbonna said starvation has remain a very serious problem in Nigeria, despite all previous efforts made by the previous administration to increase Agriculture productivity in view of this there is need according to him for radical change in approach and mind set if Nigeria is to win the war against starvation which hasturned into endemic evil.
“It has been demonstrated that biotechnology can be used to increase both the quantity and quality of crops yield, and this can be achieved through improvement in the innate ability of crops and yield higher, increase crop ability to resist and adapt to both biotic and stresses and reduction in the production cost by using crops that are resistance to pest, disease and herbicides,” Prof. Ogbonna noted.