Katchey Calls for Economy Diversification into Biotechnology

  • ..Partners Thermo Fisher to support Nigerian scientists

Martins Ifijeh

As stakeholders and the Nigerian government continue to harp on the need to stop the dependence on oil and diversify the economy for optimal productivity, the Chief Executive Officer, Katchey, Mrs Kate Isa has called for attention into the study and use of biotechnology in the country.

She said biotechnology can provide solutions to a number of crime related puzzles, breakthroughs in the health sector, upgrade for the agricultural sector and consequently add to the financial purse of the country, adding that the sector was still untapped in the country despite its enormous benefits.

Stating this during a seminar to announce the life science equipment company’s partnership with Thermo Fisher in Lagos recently, Mrs. Isa said there was need to support Nigerian scientists involved in life sciences in other to help them maximise their scarce resources for innovation and productivity.

“There is a lot life science can achieve for Nigeria, including in areas of medicine, pharmaceutical and food sciences, agriculture, among others,” adding that the government and stakeholders must give priority to the untapped sector.

She said some of the challenges experienced in life science study in the country was that less than 50 per cent of universities and research institutes were involved in life sciences. “Also, most funding comes from donor agencies. Government and stakeholders should give life science priority funding.

“Over the years our government has been looking up to oil for money, but biotechnology is an untapped area our government must look into. Lets set up well funded research and laboratories. How many of our universities are doing research and coming out with products that we can market? We need these products,” she adds.

On his part, a Professor of Virology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Sunday Omilabu said Nigeria was battling to tackle some diseases which ordinarily could be tackled if life sciences were given priority and proper funding. “We shouldn’t expect other countries to help us fight our local problems. This is the more reason we must give priority to biotechnology in the country. It can help us solve some stem cell issues.

“For instance, a number of vaccines are now produced in fruits, we don’t need to give injections. They can be put in oranges, bananas, and other fruits, and when one eats hem, h or she becomes immunised. This is the level our country should get to,” he added.

He said these innovations in life sciences were challenging because scientists in Nigeria and other developing countries lack tools, trainings and uncondusive environment.