The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), says that the planned introduction of improved cotton varieties into Nigeria’s textile industry will help transform the sector.
NABDA Director-General, Prof. Alex Akpa, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja.
Akpa said that in 2018, NABDA entered into a partnership with the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), and Bayer and Mahyco Agricultural Nigeria Ltd, for the development, commercialisation and deployment of new varieties of transgenic hybrid cotton into the industry.
He named the varieties to include; MRC 7377 BGII (MAHYCO C 567 BGII) and MRC 7361 BGII MAHYCO C 571 BGIIMAHYCO C567 BGII and MAHYCO C571 BGII.
According to the NABDA boss, these varieties are high yielding, tolerant to bollworm complex and are expected to meet the challenges of raw material supply in the industry.
“We have strategically chosen cotton as our crop of pride because it reflects one of our national needs and efforts towards transforming our industry.
“With well over 180 million Nigerians needing textile for clothing and other products, cotton lint, a raw material for textile manufacturing, has been a major item on the Nigerian import list.
“Today, we have set the stage for self-sufficiency in the production of cotton as industrial raw material with the subsequent transformation of the textile industry,’’ Akpa said.
The director-general said he was confident that the private sector, including seed companies, textile industries and ginneries would complement the efforts by taking up the challenges of full-scale commercial deployment of the research.
Speaking further, he disclosed that NABDA in collaboration with African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) also designed and constructed a level -two containment facility at the Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
He said the facility was being used for containment studies of genetically modified crops like Biotech( Bt) cowpea and Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS).
Akpa said other agro-innovative technologies developed by the agency were ready for deployment adding they included advanced hydroponics system for animal fodder production as well as aquaponics for fish and vegetable production.
He said that the technologies also included the semen technology for enhanced milk and meat production in animals.