Biotech Agency Seeks Funding, Collaboration To Mass-produce Biodigesters For Rural Electrification

webnexttech | Biotech Agency Seeks Funding, Collaboration To Mass-produce Biodigesters For Rural Electrification

Director General of the National Biotechnology Research and Development (NBRDA), Professor Abdullahi Mustapha has said with increased funding and collaborators, the agency can mass-produce its biodigester technology to electrify Nigeria’s rural communities. Professor Mustapha who spoke at the NBRDA Day, held at the sidelines of the ongoing 8th edition of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology’s Expo Technology & Innovation Expo said the agency in collaboration with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) are deploying the biodigesters to six rural points. He, however, noted that with more collaborators and resources, NBRDA can deploy its locally produced biodigesters to more rural communities, as a means of addressing the country’s current epileptic power supply. “The rural communities are going to benefit more from our biodigesters because it can be used to provide electricity, gas for cooking, and whatever energy needs they demand,” said the DG. Taking pride in the accomplishments of the agency’s recently added research mandate, Mustapha said the agency took deliberate steps to chart economically-beneficial research across its four technical departments – environment, agriculture, industry and medical. Currently, the agency has completed its cowpea research within the last two years, which saw less to zero importation of cowpea (beans) into the country in 2022. Mustapha is optimistic that the agency’s tele-maize research will within the next two years witness Nigeria export maize to neighbouring countries. On why the cowpea research hasn’t impacted the price of cowpea (beans) in the market, the DG noted that although the agency has no control over pricing of products, with time and increased accessibility of the cowpea amongst local farmers, the crop’s price will drop. Further, NBRDA has developed COVID diagnosis test kit, has a Lassa Fever drug undergoing clinical trials, and is working on technology for vaccine development, all which it believes will transform Nigeria’s medical industry. “The logic behind the test kit is not that we hope COVID returns, rather the hope that we can develop other test kits for testing in our hospitals. This means that we will have indigenous technology that can provide all these necessary medical techs that we can use at hospitals, at cheaper rates too. They will be more efficient and tailor-made for our people, contrary to the imported medical equipment designed for foreign population.” With its new research mandate, NBRDA will have more funding, collaborators, training and training of researchers which is in line with its aim to possess the world’s best researchers. “Presently, we have one of the finest researchers across Africa but we are aiming to be one of the finest researchers in the world. Most African countries come to NBRDA to learn what we are doing, and we will be hosting the International Conference on Biotechnology in Nigeria, which will host many African, and western countries coming to see what Nigeria has, as well as showcase their own products, so that we can collaborate for the development of our nation,” concluded Mustapha.

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