The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has committed N300 million (about US$2 million) to assist the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom near Jos in northern Nigeria for improved vaccine research and production.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Christopher Cooter, said at the signing of the MOU to upgrade the institution in Abuja on Thursday that the Canadian government would make financial contribution towards infrastructure upgrade, integrated equipment and facility for Biosafety Level-Three.
Biosafety Level-Three is the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s designated biological containment laboratory.
He said that his country was delighted to conclude cooperation arrangements with Nigeria to strengthen biological security and research.
"This follows on a commitment made by our Minister of Foreign Affairs during his visit to Nigeria in October 2012, to increase security co-operation, including bio-security," he said.
He said that the Biosafety Level-Three biological containment laboratory would be located at the NVRI premises, which currently has a Biosafety Level-two designation.
Cooter noted that since inception, NVRI had been serving as the central veterinary laboratory for the country and offers technical assistance to other national laboratories in West and Central Africa.
Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said that the Mou was as a result of the efforts of his ministry and the Canadian Global Partnership Programme against the spread of harmful pathogens.
He said Nigeria, which has one of the largest livestock population could not meet its protein demand due to poor genetic breeds, poor nutrition and disease.
He said that the NVRI was important to the Livestock Commodity Value Chain.
The institute, he noted, is responsible for the development and production of animal vaccines as well as research into animal diseases.
"The institute in addition, undertakes surveillance and diagnosis of animal diseases and also provides extension services to farmers. It undertakes training of intermediate manpower in animal health and veterinary laboratory technology" Adesina added.
Source African Press Agency
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