by Nkechi Isaac, Abuja
The Department of Science and Technology of the Education Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has reiterated that their research in seed improvement and large scale production of seedlings is a breakthrough for farmers.
Director of the department, Mrs Rosemary Umana, said during a media parley at the department headquarters in Utako that the department is into research and development and in collaboration with Biocrops Biotechnology Nigeria Ltd., saying there has been a progressive development of improved seedlings such as yam, sugar cane, plantain, banana and sweet potatoes through the micro (tissue culture) and macro propagation.
She noted that collaboration with Biocrops further led to partnership with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). “Through the partnership with the IITA, the use of the Aeroponics technology for the production of disease and pest free yam seedlings all year round has been introduced,” she stated.
Earlier in his remarks, the Biocrops Biotechnology Nigeria Ltd. consultant, Dr Shola Odusaya, explained that tissue culture plant development is in no way related to GMOs. He said “It involves careful and proper harnessing of soil nutrients devoid of pathogens and the process takes place inside the laboratory to avoid contamination.
“This process makes the plants healthier and they perform better in the farms while the farmers have more than enough to plant at the same time.” In a related development, the department is also bringing clusters of incubatees together and educating them on best practices in a bid to continuously help Small and Medium Enterprise businesses grow.
A statement signed by the department’s public relations officer, Mrs Ngozi Dike, said the department recently held a workshop for the National Association of Trado-Medical practitioners centred on skill acquisition on production and marketing of herbal medicine,