The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has assured that Nigeria has huge potential in food security, and has enough to export. The National Consultant of the UN, Dr. Emmanuel Odunze, gave this assurance at the opening of a two-day step-down workshop on the ‘Revised and Harmonized Characterization, Inventory and Monitoring of Animal Genetic Resources tools for Africa’. The workshop which was organized by the National Biotechnology Development Agency, NABDA was opened on Friday in Abuja.
Odunze said that in order to achieve the set goals, all the country needs to do is to harness its potentials. He called on the government to allocate more resources and deploy the right manpower to the agriculture and food sector. In addition, more manpower and resources should be allocated towards logistics for increasing food production. Furthermore, he advised that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture should support the private sector.
The FAO consultant said, “We are here to support NABDA in the genetic animal resources because we believe that it is a very vital component in livestock production for us to have a resilient genetic resource in Nigeria”. Speaking further, he added that “Some of our genetic breeds are going extinct and the only way to conserve them is to have a reference lab and have the manpower resources to sustain what we have”.
He then explained that characterization and categorization were essential to know the animal potential and to improve them for cross-breeding. According to him, this would help to maximize these potentials and get optimal results. Odunze said the organization had set a global agenda for all the countries of the world. Talking about the global plan of action on animal genetic resources, he stated his willingness to intervene in any area Nigeria required assistance.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Project Lead of Animal Genetic Resources in Nigeria, NABDA, Dr. Poopoola Mustapha noted that it was time the country started getting to the field on animal genetic resources. According to Mustapha, there is a harmonized tool now on the characterization of the animals throughout the African continent.