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The Concept of Bio-Economy (BE)

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Creating a new economy seems an overwhelming task to most of us and obviously no one knows how a future sustainable economy will look like. However, if we have the courage to rise to this challenge and alter our perspective we will see that certain technologies and sectors have an often overlooked potential to help us take the important steps on the path toward sustainability. According to OECD, for developing countries, Bioeconomy provides the potential at least partially to leapfrog the age of fossil fuels and petrochemicals to the age of more environment-friendly biofuels and biochemicals that can be produced locally, improving the economy and quality of life. Visionary thinking is required among industry, government as well as the research and environmental communities to shape an approach to a more bio-based economy that will yield optimal economic, environmental and societal benefits for developed and developing countries.

The term bio-economy (BE) has been used in different ways by different scholars and nations. It is known as biobased-economy (BBE) or Knowledge based bio-economy (KBBE). In other nations, it simply means biotechnology. Nigeria has for so many decades operated a crude oil dependent economy with 90% of the country’s revenue generated from crude oil. This country is also blessed with vast agricultural and mineral resources which to a very large extent are untapped due several factors from lack of will power to poor leadership at every level of governance. In fact the vast bioresources is reflected on the Nigeria flag and court of arm.

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The shift from focus on industrial growth to green growth is essential going by the threatening state of our environment to health, aesthetics and socioeconomic status of the nation and the fact that the developed nation are now moving in this direction. For us to be relevant in the global community of tomorrow, we must not be left behind in pursuing a biobased economy and initiatives along this line must be supported at local, regional and national level until they can compete side by side with other international research and innovation programs. This can be done by developing industries further based on sustainable and responsible utilization of available resources. The focus would of course be to create multiple value streams from each resource, to improve processes and to develop and apply new technologies with the goal of minimising waste and maximising value.

One of such technology is biotechnology. Nigeria cannot but begin to make giant stride aim at transition from an economy based on none renewable resources, with research and innovation as the major focus with increasing knowledge in the world and technological advancement enabling industry, scientists, politicians and the public to confront the challenges of the world with new and better ways. The objectives of bioeconomy are diverse, they include: The reduction of climate change impact, reduced use of non‐renewable raw materials, increased added value from biomaterials concomitant with reduced energy consumption, recovery of nutrients and energy from waste and by‐products as additional end‐products, and to optimize the value and contribution of ecosystem services to the economy (NKJ, 2013).

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