The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to establish a biotechnology lab in Nigeria which will help improve the countries biotechnology capacity for crop improvement. This was revealed by Professor Ivan Ingelbrecht of Ghent University, Belgium, who visited the country on behalf of the Gates Foundation and met with the Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Ita Okon Bassey Ewa.
“My mission in Nigeria as mandated by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is to see the possibilities of empowering Nigeria: the National Systems, Programmes in Nigeria, to have the capacity to use biotechnology laboratory technologies for crop improvement,” he said.
According to him, “the idea is to empower national programmes in Africa, and Nigeria specifically to train people on how to use facilities, so that they can produce these crops independently and Nigerians can have the capacity to decide on how to use these technologies in consideration of National regulatory system.”
“The crops we are focusing on involves national priority crops in Nigeria, which include soybeans, rice, maize. Once we establish the capacities, human and also infrastructure and once you are able to make these types of crops, you can choose any crop of national interest to apply the process,” he continued.
Speaking on the Foundations’ plans to establish a biotechnology lab in the country, the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa said
“In human systems, we know the wide areas of intervention that biotechnology can add and assist bio-engineering, genomics in biological and zoological systems and that can aid speedy realization of food security in the country.’’