Agriculture is rapidly becoming one of the world’s fastest growing and exciting enterprises. Over 80% of the population in Africa derives their livelihood from subsistence agriculture. The urban population is rapidly growing, putting pressure on rural areas to produce surplus food at affordable prices. Efforts from within the West and Central African region to sustain agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability have been limited by lack of coherent and goal – oriented institutional, human resource capacity development and policy issues. These challenges point to the need to produce new generation of young scientists and cutting-edge research outcomes leading to agricultural productivity through innovative products like climate tolerant crop varieties, animal breeds and safe nutritious foods. The overall objective of this project is to create a centre of excellence for strengthening human and material capacity for agricultural development.
The Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE) is a proposed Centre of Excellence in West Africa for agriculture anchored at the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Nigeria. The Centre is focused on teaching, learning and research excellence in agricultural productivity in the face of climate change challenges.
The proposed action plans to achieve these objectives are divided into two broad activities: capacity building and research projects. The capacity building programme involves introducing new post-graduate curricula leading to Master & Doctoral Degrees in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment - (MAgSE/PhD) in response to specific productivity challenges, short-term skill acquisition for industry stake holders, specialized workshops and internships. The action plan for research programme consists of partnering with 18 regional and 13 international Centres on over 100 post-graduate research projects in 6 West African countries that will be conducted with up-to-date research facilities. In addition, the Center will embark on thematic agricultural research projects of international interests targeted at mitigating climate and environmental challenges in the sub-region. The research project activity is divided into 5 disciplines: agricultural policy development, agricultural mechanization, crop improvement and seed enterprise development, livestock production, food processing research and hydrology. The curriculum for the ACE was arrived at based on initial needs assessment from interactions among the main partnering institutions in Nigeria and the other Five (5) regional countries.
Upon inception, the Centre is expected to have deliverables in teaching excellence and research results. Under the expected World Bank Grant, 40 MAgSE and 20 PhD graduates from the 6 West African partnering countries (Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia) will be funded. In addition, 200 staff from industries, line ministries and institutions will benefit from 10 short-term training courses, and another 200 will benefit from 3 specialized workshops. Deliverables from research results shall include and not limited to 50 journal article publications, 60 conference/workshop proceedings and short information bulletins. The Centre is also positioned to generate environmentally-smart agricultural innovations and patents in various fields of expertise. Deliverables from research results will lead to technological advancement which the Centre is poised to disseminate to industries through the spin-out office and to farmers through the University Extension Services. The ultimate deliverables of the Centre will be agricultural development and sustainable environment.