The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), on Thursday in Abuja, displayed local veritable technologies, developed by scientists of the agency to boost Nigeria’s economy.
Prof. Alex Akpa, the Director-General, NABDA said at the ongoing Science and Technology Innovation Expo, that the exhibition was organised to facilitate the commercialisation of technologies and improve the economy through wealth creation.
Akpa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the agency would do its best in commercialising technologies, but that it still needed investors to increase the pace of commercialisation and economic diversification.
While conducting a guided tour of these invented technologies, Akpa said potassium releasing bio-fertilizer; bio-pesticides; bio-insecticide; bio-nematicide, were all products of the agency in partnership with Bio-crops Company.
“These products are all biologically based, bio-degradable and completely harmless to the environment and humans.
“The bio-nematicide can be used to destroy nematodes, which cause severe damage to many crops and bio-pesticide is a pesticide used for the preservation of crops, which can replace sniper, the dangerous insecticide often used by many farmers to preserve cowpea (beans),” he said.
The DG also explained the micro yam aeroponics system, where yam could be produced without soil.
“With this technology, we were able to produce close to one million yam seedlings last year; this year we are targeting five million.
“However, our ultimate target is to produce 100 million yam seedlings for the country, and this will create much more than 10,000 jobs.
“You can imagine the number of jobs more than one million yam seedlings would create, in terms of empowering our farmers, as well as the middle men downstream,’’ Akpa said.
He also talked about Swaswa, a water yam variety developed with technology, which according to him, does not change colour after being cut.
“It remains white all through after cutting instead of turning red; and it is also available for commercialisation.
“It can also be converted into powder and of course, sell to people who have health challenges because it is good for diabetics and others,” Akpa said.
Another technology exhibited by NABDA is the bio-digester, which the DG said they had already been patented.
He said it was built by their engineers and its usefulness laid in converting biodegradable waste into bio-gas, which would then dry the wastes.
He explained that these wastes consisted of kitchen waste, yam and potato peels, groundnut hubs, vegetables, leftover food, soups, among others.
The DG said simply pouring or throwing these wastes into the bio-digester would convert them into bio-gas.
He said there was a dryer attached to it which could be channeled to the burner of a cooker that would make meals for the whole family.
According to him, the bio-digester comes in various litres of 250 to 1000, with the capacity for more, and could be used in five-star hotels, restaurants and market places to generate electricity.
Akpa also talked about hydroponics, which he explained as an important technology for providing forage for cattle to encourage ranching that would bring an end to farmer- herder clashes in the country.
He further explained that aquaponics could be used to grow vegetables and fish, especially useful for displaced communities with small space of land.
“What happens is that when you grow the fish, the fish would generate waste and the waste generated by the fish is recycled and used as pastorals,’’ he said.
According to him, vegetables such as carrots, spinach, lettuce and others, would then take up the nutrients they need from the fish waste and grow to maturity.
He said after harvesting, the water would be recycled and would become pure water to be filtered by the plants that had taken up the nutrients.
“The waste from fish for the plants, are nutrients, so they take up the nutrients and by so doing, purify the water which comes back to the fish again.
“So you see within a very small expanse of land, you can not only grow fish, but also grow vegetables which can be sold and also used by the family,” the DG said.
Dr Rose Gidado, Deputy Director of NABDA, Scientist and Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, Nigeria Chapter also spoke on other exhibits.
Gidado gave insight into the difference in yield between biotect cotton variety Mahyco 567 and the local variety.
She also talked about Pod Borer Resistant cowpea.