Mustapha: With Rapid Population Growth, Biotechnology Remains Viable Solution to Food Insecurity

The Director General/CEO of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, has underscored the imperative of agricultural biotechnology as the viable and sustainable solution to global food insecurity in this era of increasing population growth.

Demographic experts, he said, predict that the global population will hit about 9.7 billion in 2050 with Nigeria experiencing one of the highest demographic growths in Africa with 216 million in 2021.

He also acknowledged that market research analysis in 2021 showed that the expected growth in the biotechnology sector would increase from $173 billion to $1000 billion. He argued that Africa and Nigeria should not be left out of this bio-economic expansion.

To safely and adequately address food insecurity, he urged governments across the 3 tiers, Organised Private Sector (OPS) and stakeholders in the agricultural food value chain to invest in science engineering and biotechnology for sustained and rapid development of the country’s economy.

The DG, made the disclosure while speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2023 STI Expo on Friday with the theme: “Actualizing Effective Diversification of Nigerian Economy through Science, Technology and Innovation,” in Abuja.

He added that without deliberate and adequate investment in science, engineering and biotechnology, Nigeria would be receding back to the dark ages.

While advocating for more investment in knowledge-based economy, he explained that there is an urgent need to provide infrastructural facilities in various science and research laboratories across the country for optimal performance.

He said: “Biotechnology is the tool for economic development. It makes use of biological systems, organisms, technology and products that help preserve life and health of our plants.

“Biotechnology plays a key role in protecting our planet resources and enhance people’s lives. It has four major areas, which we concentrate on in NABDA. They include healthcare, crop production and agriculture, industrial technology and environmental usage.”

He urged investors to explore the huge untapped market in the sector, lamenting that Africa is yet to explore the biotechnology market, adding that the companies that are investing in industrial biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology are making huge profits across the world, adding that the top 25 biotechnology companies that are making huge investments across the world, that none of them comes from Africa.

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