Prof. Alex Akpa, the Director-General, the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), says a successful post COVID-19 will rely on adaptive and home-grown technologies to sustain and develop the Nigerian economy.
Apka said this would ensure minimal need for FOREX and expatriates with high potential for exports in areas of the country’s comparative and absolute advantage.
He disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja.
He recalled that the economic recovery, which followed the Swine Flu pandemic of 1918, had a characteristic requirement for participatory development and a strong need for local content.
According to him, the ravishing COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for the agency to strategically intervene in the interest of the nation.
Akpa said NABDA was ensuring the development, adaptation and deployment of appropriate biotechnology in products and services to meet established and evolving national needs in the present crisis confronting the nation.
“We are strategically mandated to intervene at times of high levels of uncertainty when conventional technologies need be adapted to sustain an existing system or initiate a transition through uncharted territory of national needs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges that are poorly understood globally because it is a departure from conventional knowledge of viral infection.
“Hence, its management requires innovative approaches and necessitates the invocation of the strategic mandate of NABDA with special emphasis on development of cutting edge bio-techniques in testing and managing new cases,’’ he said.
The NABDA boss said that a successful management of coronavirus pandemic brought to mind the reality of a post COVID-19 era and its attendant challenges.
He assured that the agency was not unmindful of this historical fact, while designing its interventions.
“The immediate area of attention of the agency is to ensure food security during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our present focus is food security which is achievable through enhancement of agricultural yields, commercialisation of new and improved seeds and value addition to farm produce through sound agro-processing and entrepreneurship,’’ he said.
NABDA was established in 2001 under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to coordinate the develop adaptation and deployment of biotechnology in Nigeria’s health, agricultural, industrial and environmental sectors for national growth and development.