Tela maize has immense economic benefits – Minister

TELA Maize

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Mr Uche Nnaji, has assured that drought resistant, pests resilient and innovative chemicals of TELA maize have immense economic benefits.

The minister gave this assurance during a working visit to the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), where he toured the facilities on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that TELA maize is the brand name for genetically modified (GM) maize hybrids developed by the TELA maize project.

The hybrids have Bt genes that provide protection against stem borer and help the maize plant tolerate drought.

“TELA maize is drought tolerant and insect resistant; it provides protection against drought; protection against stem borers, and significant protection against Fall ArmyWorms (FAW).

“This innovation will counteract the annual Fall ArmyWorm induced losses exceeding $268 million; it will also save Nigeria a significant foreign exchange in importation of maize of over 4000,000 metric tons annually.’’

Nnaji said that due to advanced genetic technology adoption by NABDA, Nigeria became the first country in the world to release Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea and the second in Africa to deregulate TELA maize for commercial release.

He said achievement in TELA maize, Bt Cotton and Cowpea were more than scientific milestones that echoed Nigeria’s determination and progressive spirit.

The minister pledged to work with the agency and other relevant agriculture and food security stakeholders to ensure that most Nigerian grain farmers had low-cost access to the innovated and profitable maize variety.

Nnaji also hinted that the ministry would ensure that the NABDA targeted insemination of three to five thousand cattle to scale local breeds and set the stage for increased milk production.

He said the move would reduce Nigeria’s reliance on imports, noting that in 2022, NABDA in collaboration with international partners, inseminated over 200 cattle with a higher yielding breed from Brazil.

According to the minister, the breed yields 10 to 15 litres of milk per cow daily, up from less than one litre per day.

He acknowledged the agency’s giant strides in cutting edge biotechnology as a vibrant tool of the 21st century.

This venture moves us closer to our five per cent biomass energy target and promises employment for thousands of our country’s youth and women, especially in rural areas.

The minister said NABDA’s pioneering work in bio-energy, which introduced unique equipment to assess the bio-methane potential of biomass was groundbreaking.

“This venture moves us closer to our five per cent biomass energy target and promises employment for thousands of our country’s youth and women, especially in rural areas,” he said.

Nnaji said further that the strides made in Bt cotton commercialisation and adopting Mahyco Bollgard II Hybrid seed would reshape the cotton industry, ensuring higher yields, enhanced quality, and cost-effective management.

On his part, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General of the NABDA, said it was in April 2022 that former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill establishing the agency into law which was passed by the National Assembly.

He said the act expanded NABDA’s scope of activities, making the agency fully recognised as a research institute.

“As a result of this, the agency can create job awareness, coordinate, facilitate, deploy, domesticate and carry out research in all areas of biotechnology for the development of Nigeria,” he said.

The Director-General said that Nigerian scientists in the field of biosciences were delighted that Nigeria was among the comity of nations on course in the appreciation and application of modern biotechnology research.

He said the immense benefits drivable from this technology were globally acknowledged and were as varied as the vast scope of the technology itself.

Mustapha enumerated the 37 Bioresources Centres, the six Centres of Excellence located at the premier Universities and a specialised Centre of Excellence as well as other technical departments.

“NABDA has been able to create awareness among the political class, farmers, and the public on the importance of biotechnology to our national development.

“More biotech crops are on the way and NABDA is working hand-in-hand with other partnering institutions to fast track the president’s Food Security Agenda,” Mustapha said. (NAN)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

Transcorp Hotels sustains growth momentum with 62% profit growth

Next Post

NDIC commends judiciary for better understanding of deposit insurance

Related Posts