The huge agricultural complex of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria could aggressively transform Nigeria’s economy by making the country a net exporter of agricultural products, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kabir Bala, said in Zaria today.
Declaring open a field today at a newly established demonstration farm at the Faculty of Agriculture, the Vice-Chancellor said the complex had all it took to play such a role if relevant researches were conducted for a good harvest.
Apart from the fully-fledged Faculty of Agriculture, according to him, the University also had such specialized institutes with a national mandate as Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS) and National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI).
While disclosing that arrangements were being put in place to establish an all-embracing research and innovation center to encourage research effort in the University, the Vice-Chancellor also said agriculture was one of ABU’s strongest points as a citadel of learning.
He argued that if other developing nations could get high yield, what stopped Nigeria from achieving the same feat given the availability of its fertile lands and resources.
The Vice-Chancellor also announced the intention of his administration to take over the University farms for commercial farming as a way of revenue generation for the University.
Prof. Bala, who commended the Faculty of Agriculture as well as the specialized agric institutes for organizing the field day, said Nigerians must design a solution to their peculiar problems through research and innovation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Muktar Mahmud, said the demonstration farm was established by the faculty in collaboration with East-West International, a vegetable research firm with headquarters in Thailand.
The Dean also said the collaboration saw the training of 136 extension workers from Kaduna and Kano, saying that the East-West International granted a $5,650 dollars scholarship to Nasiru Adda’u, an undergraduate student of the faculty.
Also speaking, East-West Seed Manager, Mr. David Godfree Alechenu, said the company had different sections that included food processing, business, and knowledge transfer.
He said the objective of the partnership was to empower farmers and that so far the company had trained over 10,000 farmers in Kaduna State in addition to training the agro-dealers who happened to be the link between farmers and the company.
Those present at the occasion included the Executive Director, NAERLS, Prof. M.K. Othman; Executive Director, Division of Agricultural Colleges, Prof. Musa Abdullahi Mahadi; former Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. O. Alabi; Deputy Director, NAERLS, Prof. Emmanuel Ikanu; Deputy Director, IAR, Prof. A.A. Yusuf; and Assistant Director, Extension, Training, and Outreach, NAERLS, Prof. Y.A. Sani.
Others were Assistant Director, Research and Planning, NAERLS, Prof. C.K. Daudu; HOD, Crop Protection, Prof. O.O. Banwo; Prof. H. Mani of Department of Agronomy; representative of HOD, Agronomy, Prof. A.A. Muhid; Head, Extension, IAR, Dr. H. Shuaibu; Prof. Z. Abdulsalam of Department of Agric Economics and representative of HOD, Agric Extension, Dr. S. Umar.