FG targets five million jobs from €995m agric programme

The Federal Government says it is targeting about five million jobs for farmers through the €995m agricultural mechanisation programme.

The initiative was aimed at boosting food security for the country.

Under the initiative, it added that facilities comprising tractors and other agricultural machinery were expected to be leased out to Nigerian farmers.

It stated that this was coming under the in-kind facility for agricultural mechanisation.

The in-kind facility, it added, was designed to help Nigeria attain food security, create jobs and diversify the economy from oil.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari, was quoted in a statement obtained on Sunday as saying the agricultural machines would come from Brazil.

He said when the programme took off fully, it would create at least five million jobs and 35 million nutritional effects and economic impact on Nigerians.

Kwasari said the agricultural machines from Brazil would set the basic foundation across 632 local government areas for proper agricultural service.

These machines, he added, would be leased out to the farmers for a fee, adding that the operations would be privately managed in a competitive manner.

He stated, “Services ranging from land preparation to harvest and storage will be provided timely and on-demand to all farmers in a move to enhance productivity of smallholder farmers that don’t need to own tractors and implements.

“Over 142 agro processing factories will be situated across all senatorial districts to create aggregation, intermediary and final processing of the increased farm outputs on the back of the 632 primary production supporting service centres in the respective LGs.

“This is meant to tackle the primary issues of post-harvest losses commonly suffered by smallholder farmers as well as to domesticate efficient supply chain operations where factories or aggregation hubs are closer to sources of raw material.”

On job creation, training and technological skill transfer, Kwasari explained that the programme was tailor-made to cater to the needs of private operators of the service centres, farmers, extension workers, regulatory and research institutions, among others.

He also disclosed that three years from now, Nigeria would be food secured for the various plant and livestock-related commodities identified to be supported by the programme across the states.

Source: https://punchng.com/fg-targets-five-million-jobs-from-e995m-agric-programme/

Nigeria: FG Inaugurates Committee to Improve Agric Extension Services

Over the weekend, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Muhammad Nanono, inaugurated a technical committee on the revitalisation of extension services workers.

The minister agreed that agricultural development in Nigeria requires an integrated approach to revive extension advisory services after experts and farmers have pointed out extension service as a weak link in the Nigeria agricultural value chain.

In the statement made available on FMARD Facebook page, the programme was for adoption of Good Agricultural Practice and stimulation of Technology in improving food requirements and industrial expectations.

“To design a system of training agricultural extension workers in the next 2 years and to recommend measures for the upgrading and retooling of extension training institutions across the country,” Mr Nanono said at the inauguration while charging the committee to hard work.

“The committee would assist the Ministry in developing a workable framework and actionable Programme for the training of 75,000 extension workers in collaboration with States’ Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs).”

Mr Nanono stressed the need to review extension services training modules and practices implemented in Nigeria with a view to making them more effective and efficient.

Responding on behalf of the committee, the director, Extension Services in the Ministry, Frank Kudla, pledged that the committee would work assiduously to deliver on its mandate, which includes:

– To examine proposals submitted and international best practices in extension services and draw key learning points.

– To recommend immediate actionable model of training of 75,000 extension workers in 2020.

– To develop a workable framework for engaging and working with the states in the continuous training and retraining of extension services workers.

– To recommend how to integrate and use the national farmers helpline centre with 6 zonal centers for real time information dissemination, updates, feedbacks, and capacity of farmers and relevant stakeholders.

– To developing mechanisms for the implementation of recommendations, including monitoring and evaluation

– To make other recommendation(s) that would help in fast tracking the complete transformation of extension services in Nigeria.

The technical committee is made up of the following members of the committee include; Frank S. Kudla, Karima I. Babangida, M.K Othman, Director and Sani Miko.

Other resource persons are; Oyebanji O. Olumide, Rose Idi and Umar Wali.

Source: https://allafrica.com/stories/202005190125.html

Nigeria: Bauchi Takes Proactive Measures to Ensure Bumper Harvest

The Bauchi State ministry of agriculture says it has planned to provide inputs to farmers across the state to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic does not affect their productivity. The State Commissioner of Agriculture, Pharmacist Sama’ila Burga and the General Manager, Bauchi State Agricultural Supply Company, Ibrahim Yusha’u Isah disclosed this in an interview with reporters in Bauchi.

They said the government has provided varieties of seeds, herbicides, insecticides and organic fertiliser at its stores across the 20 local government areas. This is to ensure that farmers could continue with their farming even if there is a lock down.

They advised farmers to be proactive by preparing their land and looking out for genuine seeds and other inputs.

Source: https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/bauchi-takes-proactive-measures-to-ensure-bumper-harvest.html

Nigeria: Govt Approves N479 Billion for Agric Mechanization, Others Get N47.9 Billion

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a $1.2 billion loan facility to finance the mechanisation of agriculture nationwide.

This is even as the Council also approved N683 million for the Nigerian Ports Authority for the purchase of 19 vehicles as well as another N47.235 billion for the provision of additional critical power grid infrastructure.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, gave the hint on the agriculture loan mechanization facility while briefing State House correspondents after the Council’s virtual meeting anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Nanono said that the planned mechanisation would cover at least 632 local governments.

He explained: “Today, we presented a joint memo with the Federal Ministry of Finance in which we seek the approval for a loan facility of about 950 million Euros translated probably to 1.2 billion dollars.

“This loan is for the purpose of agricultural mechanisation in this country that will cover about 632 local governments plus 140 processing plants. This is going to be a major revolution in the agriculture sector, that we have never seen before”, the minister enthused.

On the approved N683 million for the NPA, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said the approval by the council was sequel to the consideration of a memo for award of contract for the purchase of 19 vehicles for Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).

According to him, this is the first time in four years that NPA is buying any vehicle and that is why the council approved the request.

Similarly, the Minister of Power, Malam Sale Mamman, said the ministry secured approval for the revised estimated total cost for the augmentation of the subsisting contract for the provision of additional critical power grid infrastructure in the sum N47.2 billion to serve the whole North Eastern part of the country.

Specifically, he disclosed that the provision of additional critical power grid infrastructure was for the full evacuation and utilisation of 40mw currently from Kashimbila via Takum-Wukari and Yendev.

He clarified: “This is to evacuate completely 40 megawatts to the national grid. If it is not evacuated, Nigerian government will lose not less than 130 megawatts of power which is equivalent to almost nine million in a year.”

Source: https://allafrica.com/stories/202005150024.html

Look towards agric to boost economy, farmer advises FG

President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to look towards agriculture as he aims to rebound the Nigerian economy, which has largely been affected by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
 
Shuiab Mubarak, an agricultural investor, said, “The coronavirus outbreak has made farming and other agro sectors grow more than ever before and the need for food is increasing daily. The prices of products and other staples are getting higher every day, as there is no more room for the importation of food. Nigeria and indeed the world is depending on what is produced locally.”

He advised the government to capitalize on the situation and invest more resources in agriculture, saying through it, Nigeria could bridge the gap of unemployment, fight corruption and reduce insurgency to the barest minimum.

“Farming is always full of wealth. Soil in Nigeria is good for farming, starting from the land which is appreciating every day, then planting of trees that fruit in a year or maximum of two, you harvest continuously for 35 years.

source:https://guardian.ng/features/look-towards-agric-to-boost-economy-farmer-advises-fg/

FEC approves 1.2bn Euros loan for agric mechanisation

Mr Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting anchored from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The online FEC was in line with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocol on physical distancing as Nigeria strives to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nanono said that the planned mechanisation of agriculture would span across 632 local governments.

“Today, we presented a joint memo with the Federal Ministry of Finance in which we seek the approval for a loan facility of about 950 million Euros translated probably to 1.2 billion dollars.

“This loan is for the purpose of agricultural mechanisation in this country –that will cover about 632 local governments plus 140 processing plants.

“This is going to be a major revolution in the agriculture sector, that we have never seen before,’’ he said.

On his part, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said that the council approved a memo for award of contract in the sum N683 million for the purchase of 19 vehicles for Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).

This is the first time in four years that NPA is buying any vehicle and that is why the council and said fine.

“These are operational vehicles; they are not for management staff; they are all Toyota vehicles,’’ he said.

More so, the Minister of Power, Malam Sale Mamman, said the ministry sought approval for the revised estimated total cost for the augmentation of the subsisting contract in the sum N47.2 million.

He said that the contract was for the provision of additional critical power grid infrastructure for the full evacuation and utilisation of 40mw currently from Kashimbila via Takum-Wukari and Yendev.

“This is to evacuate completely 40 megawatts to the National Grid.

“If it is not evacuated, Nigerian government will lose not less than 130 megawatts of power which is equivalent to almost nine million in a year,’’ he said.

Contributing, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, said that the critical power evacuation served not just Taraba and Benue but the entire North East.

Power is something that you cannot store and once it is stranded, it poses a lot of risk.

“It is better for us to get this additional funds so that we evacuate it and then of course, 40 megawatts power will do a lot to improve the lives of many Nigerians,’’ he said.

Source: https://www.pulse.ng/news/local/fec-approves-12bn-euros-loan-for-agric-mechanisation/t1bzz3t

Bayelsa Back To Farm: The Right Decision For A Greater Bayelsa

Agriculture is pivotal to economic growth and a conscious effort to invest in it is catalytic to national development. Not only does it achieve the goals of food security, agriculture creates job opportunities for the teeming populace.

Agriculture is an important sector in economies across the world, providing sustainable livelihood for countless people, especially in developing countries. Agriculture not only provides a source of income but also provides much of our foods including job creation.

Early farmers domesticated cereals, fruits, vegetables and animals. This helped to preserve many species selected for their high nutrient content and reliable harvests. In turn, the stable food supply chain created by farms kept people from starving, and in fact led to a rapid increase in population around the world.

Today, agriculture is a core enabler of global trade and nations leverage on it for industrialization. As the human population approaches ten billion people by 2050, agriculture has proved to be to continue growth to meet the demand for food. Farming creates opportunities to lift people out of poverty in developing nations. Over sixty percent of the world’s working poor works in agriculture. Farming creates more jobs, beginning with farmers, and continuing with farm equipment makers, food processing plants, transportation, infrastructure and manufacturing.

In Nigeria, agriculture was the key growth-driver of foreign exchange before crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity. In the past, successive administrations introduced policies and programmes designed to improve agriculture were implemented. The Operation Feed the Nation programme was introduced by the Obasanjo administration in 1978. President Shagari also initiated the “Green Revolution” programme. Whereas both programmes took off with optimism, they were killed by corruption and mismanagement. Since then, attempts at improving agriculture have not been successful.

Bayelsa is a State blessed with rich natural resources. As a riverine State, Bayelsa is blessed with aquacultural and food crops: Fish, oyster, shrimps, cassava, coco-yam, plantain, timber, cane wood, raffia palm, Irvingia (OGbono), maize, palm produce, rice, yam, sugar cane, seas-foods and plantain. Over the years these potentials have not been fully harnessed.

During the electioneering campaigns in 2019, Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri promised to hinge the development of the State on agriculture and other agro-based industries. This has popularized the slogan “Bayelsa Back to Farm” as government’s resolve to invest in agriculture as a spark plug for job creation, food production and poverty reduction in the State.

Governor Diri expressed his passion and zeal to restore the farming Culture of the State when he presented a N242. 3bn 2020 Appropriation Bill of his administration, christened “Consolidation For Prosperity 2020”. Senator Diri said the appropriation bill defines the structure for economic activities to be undertaken in the fiscal year.

Accordingly, the Governor proposed a total Sum of N8 billion for the Agricultural Sector. In his word he said “we intend to focus on the Agricultural sector as a major means of wealth creation. Therefore, various agricultural projects shall be embarked upon with the aim of providing employment and achieving food security in the State. We are poised to quit being a net consumer of food items to becoming a producer and supplier State. Value Chain Transformation Programmes will be supported to achieve food security in the State. We will partner with private sector investors, research institutes, communities etc. in our pursuit of viable agric projects that would provide food for our people and also enhance the development of Agro-allied industries”.

The Governor further stated that:
– We are already partnering with CBN and other agencies to increase the funding of various agricultural projects.

– We will put to optimal use the Aquaculture projects in Igbogene/Yenigue, Igeibiri, Angalabiri etc. In addition, this government shall create more outlets to harness our existing natural aquaculture endowments.

– Our state-of-the-art Starch Processing Plant at Ebedebiri, and our comparative advantage in cassava production, will be fully enhanced.

– We shall engage in cassava, rice, plantain, sugarcane farming etc.

To succeed in these plans of restoring the farming culture of Bayelsa State in order to have a massive production of food and increase wealth in the State, I am of the opinion that the State Government should consider & adopt the following measures:

1. Acquire a large plots of lands in each of the 8 Local Governments of the State for farming.

2. Employ the Youths, Men & Women under the Ministry Of Agriculture & Mineral Resources and deploy them to each of this Farm Lands in the 8 Local Governments.

3. Engage In Farm Products Like: fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, shell eggs, honey or other bee products, maple syrup or maple sugar, flowers, nursery stock and other horticultural commodities, livestock food products, including meat, milk, cheese and other dairy products, food products of “aquaculture”, including fish, oysters, clams, Mussels and Animal husbandry.

4. Establish a Food Agency and distribution center in Yenagoa Local Government, where sellers can come & buy in a cheaper price from the Government & sell to the Markets in the State and outside the State.

5. The farms should be managed by a private sector and supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture & Mineral Resources, in partnership with the Bayelsa Microfinance & Enterprise Development Agency (BYMEDA).

With the consideration and implementation of the above recommendations, Bayelsa State will be recognized as one of the consistent food producing States in Nigeria.

In addition to economic diversification, investment in agriculture will not only create jobs but de-emphasize the over-dependence on crude oil as a major foreign exchange earner. The Bayelsa Back to Farm project is a vision that must be pursued with vigour and the much-needed synergy between government and the private sector cannot be overemphasized.

Source: https://www.thenigerianvoice.com/news/287941/bayelsa-back-to-farm-the-right-decision-for-a-greater-bayel.html

Agro export will pick up — NAQS DG

Dr. Vincent Isegbe, the Director-General, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), on Friday said the export of agricultural produce would soon pick up and gather pace.

Isegbe said this in a statement signed by Dr Gozie Nwodo, NAQS Head, Media, Communications and Strategies, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.

Isegbe noted that the Federal Government had authorised the agency to fully resume its export certification duties at all ports immediately.

He said the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation  (SGF) had also issued a directive instructing MDAs and state governments to cooperate with NAQS to enable restoration of agriculture export traffic.

”The lockdown announced as part of the strategy to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus occasioned a hiatus in the agricultural value chain.

“This brought almost all the states under one form of curfew or the other, and the ban on interstate transportation, institutional and logistical barricades blocking human and vehicular movement everywhere.

”The situation made the passage of agricultural commodities from the remote production spots to the ports which are mostly located in the urban areas difficult,” he said.

Isegbe disclosed that the Federal Government granted the agency authorisation to make agro-export kinetic again.

He said there was the need to free all functions related to agricultural export on both the public and private sectors side from any encumbrance.

“The Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO Aviance), Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Federal Road Safety Commission, Vehicle Inspection Office, the Nigerian Police, other security agencies and stakeholders are now under obligation to work in concert with NAQS.

“This collaboration is to reanimate agricultural export.

“Producer and transit state governments are expected to grant the right to free passage to the consignments along corridors that have been mapped by NAQS under the best logistics-support arrangement,” he said.

Isegbe called on all relevant entities in the agricultural export environment to play their respective parts to foster the return of business to a normal pace.

The D-G noted that agricultural export accounted for the lion’s share of Nigeria’s non-oil export performance.

He said,” given the drop in crude prices, job losses and the slump in the global economy, it is critical for Nigerian agricultural export to stand to its full height as one of the twin pillars of the Nigerian economy.”

Isegbe said NAQS had creatively adapted to the current context challenges, adding that it would balance professional protocols and adherence to all COVID-19 safety precautions in the inspection and certification of agricultural products. (NAN)

Source:
https://www.sunnewsonline.com/agro-export-will-pick-up-naqs-dg/

Covid-19: Look to Agriculture to boost Nigerian Economy, farmer tells Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to look towards agriculture as he aims to rebound the Nigerian economy, which has largely been affected by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.In a statement made available to newsmen, the Chief Executive officer of SMO foods and fruit Nigeria Ltd, Mr Shuiab Mubarak told journalists that “Agriculture has never been affected by any pandemic, outbreak or any economic downturn.According to him, “the coronavirus outbreak has made farming and another agro sector now growing more than ever before and the need for food is increasing daily.He noted that “the prices of products and other staples are getting higher every day, as there is no more room for the importation of food materials, Nigeria and indeed the world is depending on what is produced locally.Mr Shuiab advised investors to, “join Smo food and fruit Nigeria Limited to enjoy farming and build wealth in agriculture.”He said: “We have farm input capable of a huge return of investment like seedlings(dwarf hybrid fruiting tree) e.g orange, mango, cashew, lemon, strawberries, apple, soursop, lime, permanganate and lots more that all fruit in a year, they are dynamic in produce, as they can also be planted on the ground or in the flower pot at home for home use.”According to Mr Shuaib Mubarak, these seedlings “are best for commercialization because they have big and many fruits per harvest and can mostly fruit all year round.”On food crops, he said: “We also have food cropzs like dwarf okra, pepper, corn that can be harvested in 2 months, making for a quick return of investment.”The SMO food and fruits Nigeria CEO advised investors to put their money on agriculture as it is full of wealth and has potentials of huge profit.He advised the federal government to do more on for agriculture saying that through agriculture, Nigeria can bridge the gap of unemployment, fight corruption and reduce insurgency to its nearest minimum.“Farming is always full of wealth, all soil in Nigeria is good for farming, starting from the land which is appreciating every day, then planting of trees that fruit in a year or maximum 2 years, you harvest continuously for 35 years (which is a tree lifespan). An example, Pawpaw is most easy to farm,You can plant them in a flowerpot and on the ground, make N500,000 or more weekly on pawpaw farming on a plot.Pawpaw fruit in 3 months after planting and harvest is 6 month.Pawpaw has 100-300 fruit on a stand, and harvest is 5- 10 daily. Pawpaw fruit is sold for N100- N300 from the farm, this depends on the size of the fruit.With N100 x 5 fruit is N500 daily on a tree, and 150 stands on a plot that is 500x 150= 75,000 daily, when removing other expensive you end with 50,000 daily on a plot.Market prices of other fruit you harvest are listed below :-palm oil- N10000 per keg, Coconut N500 per fruit, Cashew N400,000 per tonne, lemon N1000 per fruit and lot more which are sold every day in our local and international markets.”On the health benefits from agro produce, Mr Shuaib Mubarak notes that, the immune system can be boosted when we eat foods made from natural ingredients.He stated that “eating of fruit daily make you younger, and gives more health to the body. So have a little garden across the house is always easy with our trees that fruit in flower pots.”On setting up farmland in Nigeria, Mr Shuaib Mubarak stated that “we are farmer consultants and help in farm setup. with over 10years experience in farming and tapping into the knowledge of thousands of farmers across the globe ; we can impact farming skills on those interested to go into farming.“You can partner our farm, to benefit up to 100% profits yearly and free farmland and amazing benefit.“Free training on farming is always available at our office.“We are making a world agro tour, visiting all farms across the globe, sharing knowledge among farmer and giving us the opportunity to learn the latest technology in agriculture

Source: https://www.sunnewsonline.com/covid-19-look-to-agriculture-to-boost-nigerian-economy-farmer-tells-buhari/

Need to revive agricultural research institutes

The Coronavirus pandemic has had enormous economic repercussions. The situation has been worsened by the current crash in the international price of crude oil. This portends a great danger to the fragile economy but also has the potential of being a blessing in disguise for the country through agriculture.

While agriculture dwells on research to increase its productivity for the growth of the sector, the place of Research institute is very Paramount in the development of the agriculture sector.

Over the years, the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), which is the coordinating body of all agriculture research institutes in the country has become dormant and unable to coordinate the institutes effectively.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Mohammad Nanono once lamented that most of the research institutes were underfunded, adding that they have big buildings but lack funds for research.

While harping on the need for effective research institutes, he gave an instance of a professor paid N500,000 monthly but is not given up to N200,000 for research yearly.

However, Nanono reiterated the need to revitalise the research institutes and make it more cost-effective and more productive.

Corroborating this, ARCN Acting Executive Secretary Garba Sharubutu said the Council was almost moribund due to the defunct Management in place before his appointment by the minister in September 2019.

According to him, when he was appointed, he looked at the facilities that are available and realised that the Council does not have a library, no Conditions and Schemes of Service as stipulated in the Act establishing the Council.

According to him, when he was appointed, he looked at the facilities that are available and realised that the Council does not have a library, no Conditions and Schemes of Service as stipulated in the Act establishing the Council.

He said: “This is regrettable because the ARCN should be in comparison with Research Institutes in Kenya, Ethiopia and Mali. It was also learnt that audit reports from 2012 until 2019 was not available in the Council.

“Most of them were satisfied with that because it made the system vulnerable to manipulations, lack of transparency and provided the platform for mediocrity.”

ARCN’s function

Sharubutu, who said the principal function of ARCN is to advise the government on policy issues that bothered on agriculture and draw up a master plan for running the Research System, said the Council is committed working towards achieving improvement s in the production of agricultural goods and services.

The Professor of Veterinary Medicine said before his appointment, the various Research Institutes were like children without parents.

While noting that he was appointed by the minister to resuscitate the Council, he expressed commitment to solving the leadership crisis in the various Research Institutes.

“On assumption to duty, I discovered amongst others crowded workplace (about seven Agricultural Officers lumped together in an office); Lack of capacity in Council’s staff (with Diploma, NCE, HND, Third Class First Degrees and a few with Masters and PhD Degrees). To address the issue of staffing structure we decided that we must build the capacity of our staff”, he noted.

He said the Council insisted that staff must go to school because there was no way they can become a research officer and keep on moving around with NCE, Diploma or First Degree (Third Class).

Furthermore, he said that the second mandate in the Act says that they must design a structure and a plan for the Agricultural Research Institutes and provide fund for them.

In other world-class research institutes like EMBRAPA-Brazil, ICAR-India, majority of our lawmakers have visited there to make the ARCN better, unfortunately, the Council hitherto could not produce the required capacity of Leadership to realise this dream.

Last year, the Senate drove away from the ARCN when they went for budget defence because the council was said to be operating a defunct Management without the required capacity of Leadership.

“So, with my coming, we restructured the place and tried to see how we can boost capacity. We initiated a programme where we are to have a museum just like it happens in EMBRAPA and others so that all the 26 Institutions that are under the Council would have their profiles mounted in our office complex,” Sharubutu said.

The reason for this is that the first point of call for anybody who wants to research this country is supposed to be ARCN, so the Council can look at their research interest and direct them to the appropriate Research Institute that is going to be of benefiting them.

Resuscitating ARCN

Speaking on resuscitating the Council, he said: “We have built an extended arm to the office complex in the Council from the meagre resources allocated to us in 2019 Budget. The building was designed to accommodate 21 office accommodation for staff; a National Museum; a National Radio to reach out to farmers on research innovations and technologies nationwide.

“Hitherto, going on Monitoring and Evaluation by staff was more of jamboree without any outcome report to show for it and a platform to syphoning funds, but we have developed a template like in the National University Commission (NUC) for more realistic monitoring and desired output,” he said.

Sharubutu said: “For now, the minister has given one serious directive that all our research findings must be moved from the shelves, that he wants to see them on the ground, and we have successfully submitted a proposal to him on each of the research institutes, we have been able to look at their potentials, what seed they have generated, how much they have in stock, what tractors they have, what are their capacities, and we have submitted that to the minister.

“I think what the minister wants to do is to key into how we are going to alleviate the problem of the post-COVID-19 pandemic because people are not likely to be encouraged to go to the farm and we are not likely to import foreign seeds to boost our agriculture. Therefore, the Minister asked me on what we can do as Research Institute, I told him we have developed improved seeds and gave the total number of the details from the various Research Institute under our purview.

“Hitherto, it was leadership crisis we had in all the Research Institutes, but you don’t hear them now, everything has been settled because we followed due diligence and transparency to get competent leadership in our research Institutes.”

Speaking about Professors who left the Council, he said: “the first thing we have to do is that there is a clog in the wheel of progress here, those that don’t want to improve their capacity, have frustrated many Professors out of the Council, preferring a Sociologist to take over from a renowned scientist through collusion and manipulation of co-conspirators.”

On the allegations of corrupt practices against him when he was the Provost of Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Vom, Professor Sharabutu said: “I saw those allegations on the social media, and I think specifically, what they were saying was that I have a company and that I was giving the contract to my company.

He said: “When I came on board, the College’s first capital grant was N32 million, the second one was N7 million which was grossly inadequate for any meaningful development. So I said we must look for revenue, and we took a decision as management to run what we call College of Animal Health Consultancy Service and we went for registration. We were told that an object cannot register a firm; you need to have human beings to register, so the Bursar became one of the directors, I became one of the directors, and then the entrepreneurship officer became one of the directors.

“Immediately we registered that company, we put a clause there that this company is solely owned by the college and I can tell you that is the beginning of our breakthrough because all constituency projects were handled by the consultancy firm because it was agriculture-related, and our area of competence. We decided to handle those projects like training in abattoir, design and construction of abattoir, lecture; in fact, we are registered with the Central Bank of Nigeria to be running programs for their loan programmes. “So, I was even perplexed when people ascribe the company to myself, but what people need to know is that if you have a company, the dividends of that company is supposed to come to you, I want people to go through my bank account and see if any money from that company had come to my account.

“It was through that company that we were able to boost our revenue. We constructed a whole department, all the vehicles that are been utilised now (from the provost vehicle to those of head of departments were all bought by that company, about 13 vehicles).

“We were able to build two classrooms, fisheries department, extension, we were able to build a complex made of 2 large halls, a computer centre with 2 offices by that same company”. “If you go there, you will see modern desks that were bought by the company, I did not meet a college with a guest house, I bought a guest house worth about N17 million using proceeds from that company for the college, not for me, my accounts can confirm it.

“All these accusations are a product of ‘push him out of the way’. The target is that we must continue running this place the way we want, but this one that came to perfect this place, get him out of the way so that we can continue with our nefarious practices, so it is a battle for leadership (leadership tussle).”

source: https://thenationonlineng.net/need-to-revive-agricultural-research-institutes/