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The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS)

Friday, 7 May 2021

SW Review/Refils: Agric Adviser wants research for the youths against $1 trillion

*Need for climate smart agriculture through ADPs

·       *Farmers report strange fishes, weeds, wants support

·       *ARCN boss indicts NIRSAL, promises support to extension

·       *IAR&T  ED loads achievement, hails Ogun, asks others for support

The Executive Adviser (EA) to the Governor of Oyo state, Dr. Debo Akande has emphasised the need for agricultural researchers to intensify on improved technologies that would attract more youths into owning a business in Agriculture so as to be a partaker in the one trillion dollar food and agribusiness market in Africa by year 2030.

Dr. Akande raised the curiosity of researchers towards youth leadership succession in agribusiness with science technologies backup at the recently concluded 2020/2021 Annual Research Review and 33rd Research Extension farmers Inputs Linkage System (REFILS) held at Moorplantation, Ibadan.

Akande delivering his keynote address for the occasion tilted ‘’ Agricultural Research for Entrepreneurship and Poverty Alleviation’’ pointed that youths of the nation must be well positioned with the use of new improved technologies, and as well mentored into leadership role in entrepreneur agricultural business that would usher them to partake in the huge food business of one trillion dollar in the next nine years in Africa.

He stressed that the opportunity our nation can derive in her increasing population is appropriate deployment of right technologies towards economy diversification from mono oil to commercial Agriculture where a lot of youths will be gainfully employed at the value chain of the sector as entrepreneur business owners, adding that the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state is already addressing this challenge through the establishment of Agricbusiness agency whereby private organizations and young individual are being encouraged into owning commercial agriculture business.  

The EA posited that entrepreneurship is an ability to be able to think to solve a problem to create wealth, adding that agribusiness is a great potential driver to create wealth and job in both rural and urban areas with the use of improved technologies to checkmate climate change challenges and remove drudgery in farming.

He  pondered on the need for leadership successions to the youths after older people must have retired in view of increasing population and food availability and security,  saying that the Research Institutes should replicate  the succession strategy of International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) through training of the youths in a very skilful agricultural entrepreneur towards mitigating food scarcity in the near future as our increasing population is growing unchecked just as climate change impacts are staring at us.  

In his conclusion, Dr. Akande wanted research Institutes to be cognisant of ensuring entrepreneurship skill on all their students through a technology business incubation and innovation hub where ‘’ the future of Nigerians and Nigeria’s economy can depend on capitalizing on agricultural research and innovations to support the agricultural entrepreneurs to leverage on the growing global food demand’’

In his paper presentation on ‘’ Promoting climate smart agriculture, food security and sustainable wealth creation amidst Covid-19 and social conflict’’ Prof. Mohammed Kuta Yahaya, of Extension Department, University of Ibadan alerted participants of the imminent disaster awaiting the entire nation and the whole world if the issue of climate change is not taken very serious with improved technologies transfer to mitigate challenges of flood and drought on crops and animal productions, stressed the need for efficient extension workers for farmers’ application of all these new improved technologies to increase food productivity.

Prof. Yahaya advocated for the need to promote and adopt climate smart agriculture with reinvigoration of extension workers at all the states’ level cum provision of necessary facilities that would enhance effectiveness of information transfer to the farmers towards enhanced food production and conversion of our animals and crop varieties from going extinction.

The professor of extension called on Government at all levels to ensure investment in information system that would ensure metrological weather forecast to all farmers as regards best agronomics practices saying that Nigeria is prone to loss as much as 2% to 11% of her Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in 2020 to climate change challenges, and that the projection could rise to between 6% and 30% by the year 2050 with its naira implication stands at N15 trillion and N69 trillion if proactive precautions were not taken.

He urged that deliberate policy to adopt climate smart agriculture through efficient extension officers be adopted as the most cost effective to keep the agricultural sector and its supply chains working to ensure food security even in the face of covid-19 pandemic.

A farmer, Mr. Simbo Fakande drew the attention of scientists during one of the sessions chaired by Prof. Lateef Bamidele to the appearance of strange fishes and weeds that cannot be controlled or killed by any herbicide even after several attempts, thereby calling on researchers to come to their aid in Osun state where the impact of Agricultural Development Programme ( APD) are not in any way felt by the farmers.

Fakande said that the strange species might have been negative impact of climate change on rivers Ogun and Osun that brought the fishes as they are very difficult to kill even with chemical applications, adding also that a particular weed is also appearing on farms that needed the attention of researchers because of its repellent ability to any herbicide.

 Dr. Ajibike Lateef, a yam farmer expressed lack of funding for farmers in Nigeria saying the condition attached to getting loans is too difficult to meet, thereby wants farmers to establish their own bank saying that the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) has failed in its responsibility.

Lateef stressed the need for availability of improved technologies that would reduce drudgery and ensure food preservation against wastages, adding that traditional medicine to prevent cattle from entering people’ farms are available if allowed to be adopted, just as he pondered on the need to improve on agricultural insurance cover for farmers, and also stressed the need to curb the activities of herdsmen on farms with improved technologies.

Also, the chairman for the South West, All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Dr. Femi Oke has enjoined farmers to eschew friction among themselves but rather to work as a team in collaboration with government policy so as to move commercial agriculture forward, adding that government should always get farmers involved in her policy initiations for it to be effective and proactive in the implementation.

Otunba Oke who encouraged people to see agriculture as business stressed the need for youth farming development and commended the impact of AFAN in Agriculture and food security in the country through its organ of 56 commodities associations just as he hailed the effort of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former AFAN president whose impact at the national assembly has ensured the forwarding of the national agricultural development fund bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for ascent.

 He commended partnership with Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), National Institute for Horticulture (Nihort) and IAR, Zaria as the chairman of the session, Prof. Olakojo advised farmers to shun being divided by politicians just as he encouraged them to mobilize themselves into having their own bank for agricultural development.

 The Permanent Secretary (PS), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Umakhihe ably represented by the Executive Secretary (ES), Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof. Garba Sharubutu commended the activities of IAR&T to agricultural development in the South West agricultural ecology, saying that ‘’the Institute has the mandate for multiple products amongst are Maize, Jute bag, Kenaf and livestock. Inclusive of this mandate is also the research into farming systems and processing. Even though we have a long way to go, but I dare say that the Institute has fared very well in these areas’’

The PS through Prof. Sharubutu promised the Research Institutes the readiness of Government to improve on funding envelopes in order to encourage research development in the country saying that ‘’this will help to generate better planting materials for the improvement of the farming systems. We expect that a greater percentage of the capital allocations given should go purely to research to reflect a deviation from the old order where Institutions spend more on infrastructure’’

In another session of the occasion, the ARCN boss punctured the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention anchor borrower for missing the point by not tailoring its activities through extension workers of both the Federal and states governments, adding that reports on social media have described Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) as a failure venture, just as the financial intervention of the CBN are not meeting the target even though it is important.

He however promised to enhance the extension department of the IAR&T which he advised must be catchment focussed with a working equipments saying  ‘‘we are targeting the IAR&T to be a beneficiary of the provision of the following extension materials that will include 55 inches television, a DVD (Digital Versatile Disc), a power point projection, a screen, 50 plastic chairs and 40 plastic tables, a standard public address system and a mobile generator towards the training of extension workers’’

In her speech, the Executive Director, IAR&T, Prof. Veronica Obatolu highlighted some of the achievements the Institute have been able to impact into the successful farming activities in the region towards food security, stressed that research development and implementation is a function of appropriate funding and release from both the federal and the states’ government.

Prof. Obatolu craved for the support of all the states government in the region for efficient management of soil and water within the land space in order to ensure productive farming activities toward food security saying that we cannot mention crops without an effective soil and water management.

She however commended the support of the Ogun state Government under the leadership of Governor Dapo Abiodun to soil survey and mapping in almost all the local governments of the state saying that other states must replicate this for better management of soil and water in the land space for crops and animals productivity in the region.

The Vice chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and chairman governing board of the IAR&T, Prof. Eyitayo Ogunbodede thanked all the participants and dignitaries for finding out time to partake in the annual event where minds are being rubbed on the previous year’s farming activities with the view to planning for the next seasons planting towards food security using improved technologies to ensure high productivity in the region.

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