The Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, has declared that Nigeria is now ready to embrace the innovative genome editing technology, following the enactment of biosafety laws that regulate modern biotechnology.
Mustapha made this known during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday. He disclosed that the use of genome editing technology in agriculture would lead to increased agricultural productivity, mitigating climate change and reducing the time frame between planting and harvesting, among other benefits.
According to Mustapha, genome editing technology is a scientific innovation that enables precision agriculture by targeting and repairing genetic impairments in crops, leading to optimal yield.
He added that Nigeria’s regulations on the use of genome editing technology are designed to protect the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity while also ensuring its safe use in the country.
With the application of genome editing technology in agriculture, Nigeria would be able to combat diseases that have plagued crops in the country, particularly those used as food and industrial raw materials.
The increased production of these crops would not only ensure self-sufficiency in food production but also provide raw materials for industrial development, creating employment opportunities for the country’s youth population.
Mustapha noted that Nigeria is among seven African countries collaborating with the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) on genome editing technology.
This collaboration would enable the exchange of ideas and strengths to foster scientific development, political will, and actualize the initiative within a specified timeframe.