The federal government has identified biotechnology as one of the technological tools the government plans to apply to ensure it adequately caters for the food demands of the growing population.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, made this known during the opening ceremony of the ICGB-NABDA-SCBD-NBMA Workshop on Basic Laboratory Training on Living Modified Organisms (LMO) Detection and Identification organized by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in collaboration with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Trieste, Italy, with support from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), Ontario, Canada and the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) in Abuja.
Declaring the workshop open yesterday at the NABDA headquarters, Onu said Government has recognized the immense importance of Genetic Engineering and Bio-Technology to the progress of the nation, adding that it would boost local production of food and commodities and minimize the need for continuous import.
"The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will continue to support NABDA in carrying out this very important mandate to help our country not only in the area of agriculture but also protecting our environment and in ensuring the desire of our nation to Industrialize rapidly is achieved," he said.
Earlier, the acting director-general of NABDA, Prof Alex Akpa said Nigeria had embraced bio-Technology and genetic engineering, for better improvement in crops and animal production.
"We have made significant investments in modern Bio-Technology to assist in deepening awareness of the Technology and its impact on national growth and development," he added.
Representative of the Executive Secretary of the SCBD, Mr Austein McLoughlin, said close cooperation with developing nations would be sustained in a bid to identify the importance of Living modified organisms.
Giving the rationale for the workshop, Deputy Director, Agricultural Biotechnology Department, NABDA, Dr Toyin Ajenifujah-Solebo, said the aim of the workshop was to provide participants with understanding of the processes involved in the development of GMOs and LMOs. Ajenifujah-Solebo also said the workshop would provide the participants with new GMOs/LMOs analysis as well as hands-on-experience in the performance of relevant laboratory methods.