By Sylvester Thompson
A high-powered delegation of biotechnology and biosafety team members on a study tour from Ghana on Monday applauded Nigeria’s success story in the areas of biotechnology and biosafety.
Dr Emmanuel Marfo, Ghananian Parliamentarian, said during a courtesy visit to the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Abuja that they felt good being among people doing a good job of trying to feed the nation.
Marfo, who is Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI),Ghana noted that the visit would help to broaden their scope in biotechnology.
He said the visit would help in the right oversight and to further understand scientists that appear before the parliament.
The parliamentarian also said the meeting had also enabled him to understand the activities of science and also speak for science, as well as represent effectively.
“Parliamentarians who do oversight must be conversant with the sector,’’Marfo said.
Prof Charles Antwi-Boasiako, Chairman of the National Biosafety Authority(NBA) of Ghana, also commended the great strides of the National Biosafety Management Agency of Nigeria (NBMA).
Boasiako spoke about the biosafety frame work of Ghana and its applicability while stressing on the need for public enlightenment for accurate knowledge.
Earlier, Dr Francis Onyekachi, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Representative in West Africa, said that biotechnology infrastructure was properly developed in Nigeria.
He hinted that Nigeria was also foremost in biosafety regulations, in addition to biotech cowpea and cotton which had been released for commercialisation and that biotech maize was coming next.
Onyekachi told the visitors that Nigeria’s biosafety agency coordinated all risk assessments, adding that policies and regulatory systems were all well developed instruments of commercialisation put in place.
He said the biotech cowpea and cotton were presently in the hands of Nigerian farmers.
Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director -General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA) enlightened the visitors by giving an overview of the mandates and achievements of the agency.
Mustapha spoke extensively on the role of biotechnology to national development and how agricultural biotechnology could be harnessed to help feed the nation.
“We must all be on our feet to see that we feed our nation and biotechnology is the answer to feeding ourselves on this continent of Africa, ‘’ he said.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Dr Rose Gidado, Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), said Nigeria’s story on biotechnology and biosafety space was full of successes.
She said that though there were challenges but the country had always overcome these challenges to come out stronger.
She said the delegation found the need to inquire how Nigeria made it to this level and came for exchange of ideas, knowledge and information in order to build on the strengths.
Gidado attributed Nigeria’s success story to pragmatic partnerships.
“We have a strong relationship existing between the regulators in Nigeria and the promoters,’’ she said.(NAN)