Latest News

News Published in November 2015

FUNAAB Showcases Cassava Opportunities

The Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA II), a research project sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is poised to promote value addition to cassava. CAVA II is led by the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria, working closely with the Natural Resources Institute of University of Greenwich, United Kingdom; International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria, Food Research Institute, Ghana; Tanzania Food and Nutrition Center, Tanzania; Africa Innovations Institute, Uganda; Chancellor College, University of Malawi and other partners. FUNAAB’s Director of Grants Management, Professor Kolawole Adebayo, is the Project Director.


            The project is implemented in five African countries namely: Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi, with the aim of improving the livelihoods and incomes of at least 200,000 value chain actors, especially smallholder farmers and processors, by at least USD177 million in five years. This will be achieved through stimulating the sale of more than two million tons of cassava into HQCF, starch, ethanol and other cassava product value chains.


Making this disclosure was the Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC) of the University and the Country Manager of CAVA II, Professor Lateef Sanni. According to the Don, his team’s current research interest is on the industrial up-scaling of cassava through which they encourage stakeholders to make use of cassava as industrial raw material, by making it possible for them to transit from the traditional sector to the industrial sector.

Professor Sanni, who has been working on the C:AVA Project since 2008, said the major problem which the work is determined to solve is the challenge of inadequate raw material supply, noting that between 2004 and 2007, former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had advocated 10 percent inclusion policy of cassava flour into wheat for the baking of bread and other diversified use, but this suggestion could not be achieved due to the unavailability of raw materials.

Hence, the research team intends to get the specific kinds of farmers, who would replace the low yield cassava root with high yield cassava roots so that in the future, there would be the spill-over effect, while the farmers would in turn gain from this effort, in addition to entrepreneurs that would be selling their cassava stems to others. He noted that the special interest in cassava is not out of place since Nigeria is the highest producer of the crop in the world, adding that cassava is drought-tolerant, by being able to survive in any location. He stated that of all the agricultural commodities existing today, cassava had the highest produce level of about 54 million tonnes per annum when compared to yam, which is about 38 million tonnes or cereals which range between 10 and 12 million tonnes.

Professor Sanni disclosed that for a researcher or farmer to achieve profitability and success in commercial cassava farming, it should be mechanised, using tractors, processing machineries with high-yielding roots and best agronomic practices. For him, mechanised farming would result in low production cost of close to about N4,000 per tonne as against the N10,000 to N14,000, which is presently obtainable. The Dean noted that the project on cassava was germane to national development as cassava is a competitor to oil, if well tapped. He added that the project could bring about food security in the country, due to the available disease-resistant and highly yielding cassava roots, uptake of industrial starch-ethanol by end-user markets and the political will of the Federal Government of Nigeria. He noted that cassava remained a source of income generation as individuals, small medium entrepreneurs and large scale entrepreneurs could easily make a fortune from the bye-products of cassava such as starch, flour, fufu, among others.

Highlighting some of the achievements so far made by the CAVA II Project, the Country Manager noted that they are basically supporting small and medium entrepreneurs in the country. He cited Rivers State, where Dr. Joy Ejiofor is the Zonal Coordinator, while Mrs. Ugo Chijioke supervises the work going on in Abia and Imo States, stating further that the project was also working closely with the Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Kogi and Kwara Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs), by liaising with the small and medium entrepreneurs in the states and farmers working with the Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC) of FUNAAB. Professor Sanni also named other collaborators as the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure; Oyo State College of Agriculture, Igboora; Justice, Peace Development and Movement of the Catholic Church; Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited (AADL), Igbesa; Thai Farms, Ososa; Magna Starch Industry, Akure; Psaltry Starch Industry, Oyo State and Greentech Starch Industry, Agbara, among others.


            The Dean of COLFHEC added that CAVA II coordinates the train-the-trainers initiative on best agronomy practices, quality management and linking farmers with processors, advocacy programmes, liaising with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the training of master-bakers, cassava processors and other investors. He disclosed that this year, the project distributed about 2,550 bundles of stem cuttings to 1,450 farmers and 215, 515 tonnes of fresh roots to farmers from eleven locations in Nigeria, adding that in the University’s Institute for Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), CAVA II already has a Demonstration Farm, on which one hectare is planted per month.
            The Dean lamented that despite the milestones achieved by CAVA II, there were still many challenges facing the project. These include inconsistency in public policy implementation as this had been a major constraint to the growth and development of effective research, adding that farmers and processors were unable to access government credit facilities, hence little or no funds for research activities. He also observed that poor infrastructural network was another challenge facing research in the country, noting that a nation that wishes to accomplish any significant economic development should invest more in the provision and maintenance of basic infrastructural facilities like good road network, electricity supply and transportation. The Don, however, said the country was also not doing well in research because of non-involvement of new and young brains in research activities.
            The Dean noted that the team had been able to carry the private sector players along while planning and executing projects, saying they had always maintained their integrity and practiced transparency. Looking into the future, Professor Sanni observed that the next ten years seem to be very bright, as there would be an emergence of nothing less than 10 large industries, considering the efforts being put in place, stressing that by that time, cassava would have transcended into an industrial crop and its exportation from Nigeria would be on a very large scale.
            The Dean, therefore, recommended that adequate funds should be pumped into research activities, while the government should compel multinational companies to fund centers of excellence in each geo-political zone, adding that government should stop bringing in expatriates but rather make use of local experts and consultants in our institutions. Furthermore, he suggested that retired University staff and graduates should be engaged in running different ventures in the University. He equally observed that the University’s Yam Roasting Festival should be enlarged into an Agricultural Fair that would be open to farmers, private individuals, government and multinational companies and should last for a longer period of about two to three days, to promote healthy competition and stimulate better ideas from the participants.

VC Felicitates with NRI for Bagging Queen’s Prize

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, has congratulated the University of Greenwich’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) ground-breaking work on cassava that led it to bag the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education. 


In an official electronic mail, Professor Oyewole said the University was glad to be associated with NRI, adding that FUNAAB was also grateful for the continued support and the existing collaborations between both institutions over the years. Similarly, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Greenwich, Professor David Maguire said, "the whole University is hugely proud of this great honour; it's a great accolade for NRI and another clear indicator of their exceptional, world-class work in this field. The prize is also a wonderful tribute to our international funders and partners. They have helped us to apply our expertise on a global scale, transforming the lives of some of the world's poorest communities”.


Commending the team for the joint efforts at winning the prize, the Director, Natural Resources Institute, Professor Andrew Westby, stated that CAVA projects constituted important part of the submission for the prize, stressing that the “award is made to University of Greenwich, I really do value the collaborations that we have had.  In some cases, these go back for more than 25 years. Please, do consider that you have a part of the award”. 
Professor Westby added that the award was a great credit to NRI’s dedicated social and natural scientists as well as postgraduate research students, whose world-leading research and development works on cassava were making real differences to the lives of poor people in developing countries. Professor Westby, who is also the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), University of Greenwich, stated that the main funders of NRI’s work had been the UK’s Department for International Development; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the European Commission; the African Union; International Fund for Agricultural Development; CGIAR centres and programmes, among others.


According to him, “Central to our approach and success has been the strength of our collaboration with our partners around the world”. He added that NRI’s submission to the Royal Anniversary Trust, which awards Queen’s Anniversary Prizes to Universities and colleges, recognises excellence, innovation, impact and benefit for winning institutions and for the society in general in four main areas, namely: overcoming emergent diseases threatening cassava production, adding value through processing and business development, managing waste within the value chain for economic returns, and strengthening the capacity of developing-country scientists and practitioners.
The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education is a biennial award within the United Kingdom’s national honours system. It is the prestigious form of national recognition that is open to UK academic institutions.  Meanwhile, a formal award ceremony will be held at Buckingham Palace in February 2016.

Late Dr. Olubiyo’s Family Donates Books to FUNAAB

Members of the immediate family of the former Deputy Dean, College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) of FUNAAB, late Dr. Solomon Olubiyo, has donated books, periodicals and journals to the ‘Nimbe Adedipe Library, as well as the Department of Economics of the University.


            Making the donation, the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Lydia Olubiyo, said the gesture was made possible through the Dr. Prince Solomon Olorunfemi Olubiyo Foundation, in which a total of 187 books, 131 periodicals and journals were donated, in furtherance of the University’s academic development and ideals of late Dr. Olubiyo.
            Late Dr. Olubiyo, joined the services of the University in 2011, and was until his demise a few weeks ago, the pioneer Deputy Dean of COLMAS. He was said to have been instrumental to the creation of a full-fledged Department of Economics in COLMAS.

FUNAAB Researcher Soars Higher

A postgraduate student, who is currently undergoing a Doctorate degree in Parasitology in the University, Mr. Olabanji Surakat, is rising high courtesy of the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), based in Seattle, United States of America, for his immense contributions to the alleviation of Onchocerciasis, a disease commonly known as River Blindness. PATH has offered Olabanji, an opportunity to work with the team in its Seattle laboratory to learn the Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) Testing Techniques and compare the Ov16 RDT results against the PATH Ov16 ELISA. 

Olabanji, who studied Zoology for his First Degree and has a Master’s Degree in Parasitology from FUNAAB, had collected skin-snip samples in early 2015 from people in communities and who had been tested for baseline levels of Onchocerciasis about ten years ago. The goal was to evaluate the impact of ten years of mass administration of the drug, Ivermectin. In addition to the skin-snip samples and nodule palpation, Olabanji used the SD BIOLINE Onchocerciasis IgG4 Rapid Test (Ov16RDT) while PATH helped develop the test, which indicates previous exposure to the disease-causing parasite by testing for antibodies to the Ov16 antigen. 

The Doctorate student said he first learnt of Onchocerciasis, one of the neglected tropical diseases that the World Health Organisation (WHO) was targeting to eliminate under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiative, as a youngster. Describing how he developed interest in the study, he said even though he knew of the disease as a kid, the determination to embark on the study grew from his tutor, who eventually became his mentor and supervisor, Professor Sammy Sam-Wobo, while working on a WHO project on Blackfly Migration between Nigeria and Benin Republic. It was Professor Sam-Wobo who later offered a mentorship opportunity to work with him. The Blackfly vector is responsible for the transmission of the disease-causing parasite, Onchocerca volvulus.

“I volunteered and that was my first field experience. I grew up in Lagos, and for the first time, I got to see people in a rural environment, I got to see how it feels living in villages. The samples I brought to PATH were from a study conducted in 32 Nigerian communities, spread across the eight districts that had been marked meso-endemic for Onchocerciasis in Ogun State. The project lasted about three-and-a-half months. I had the support of the Ministry of Health of Ogun State and the Onchocerciasis coordinators of each district in addition to many nurses, students, and other team members”, he stated.


Comparing the Ov16 test with the skin-snip, Olabanji said the Ov16 test is a culturally-acceptable test while the skin-snip is not, stressing that women, most especially, can relate to the Ov16 test because they do a similar process for pregnancy tests. His words: “People are excited about the 20 minutes read-time, to see their results, and they are willing to hang around. Friends and family come out, instead of running away from the test. On one occasion, a guy was so impressed with the test and the drug that he got on his motorbike and called his family and friends to come take the test. With the skin-snip, if 200 people needed to be tested, only nine will agree and by the time you do the first one, no one else wants to do it”. 

He, however, declared that the process of collecting and examining skin-snip samples and running the Ov16 RDT was a social affair. Olabanji added that he had looked forward to getting a fellowship opportunity, while PATH had made the dream come true for him. He noted that he embraced the training on techniques he read in books, adding that he had hands-on experience learning how to run them which had given him insights into the possibility of going back and making use of the University’s laboratories. 

“In my University, we have some of these similar tools in the Central Biotechnology Laboratory for general use. I look forward to incorporating these new techniques in future studies. It’s a whole lot of new thoughts in terms of research and what we could achieve. I look forward to strengthening the capacity I’ve been able to build here. I want to do more. I want to learn more. I just see that there is so much to learn here”, he disclosed. Reacting to the challenges facing his research and in the elimination of Onchocerciasis from Nigeria, the FUNAAB researcher said, it would require good funding, saying that “we are ready to do a lot of research in Nigeria, if the environment is made favourable. We are also looking forward to having collaborations with organisations like PATH and others".

HRORBN Set to Partner FUNAAB

The Health Records Officers’ Registration Board of Nigeria (HRORBN), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health, has indicated keen interest in partnering the International Centre for Professional Development (ICPD) of the University, in the area of providing Electronic Health Record (EHR) services.

The Chairman, Board of ICPD and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako, represented by the Director, Academic Planning, Professor Olukayode Akinyemi, during a meeting with officials of the Health Records Officers’ Registration Board of Nigeria, disclosed that ICPD was affiliated with reputable academic and industrial partners in Europe, Asia and the United States of America, adding that the Centre was established to deliver sound training for professionals, business and executive leaders with globally-recognized certification in Information Technology.

According to Professor Salako, the ICPD is sponsored by the Africa-Asia Foreign Investment Development Agency (AAFIDA) and Bright Sword Technologies Limited, Singapore, noting that the University was prepared to become a place for first class training, as the Centre had the capacity to run many programmes at the same time. Corroborating the DVC, Development, the Centre Manager, Mr. Lawrence Kazeem added that the ICPD was already collaborating with the Singaporean clinical and academic research institutions in providing quality EHR. Mr. Kazeem said many programmes would be developed that will cater to the needs of low, medium and executive levels across the Nigerian health sector to give robust, relevant and acceptable services based on local content. He observed that in the partnership, the University expects HRORBN to encourage its registered members to be trained in EHR by the time it fully commences. 

Responding, the immediate past Chairman of HRORBN, Mr. Jubril Sokoto, as well as a Consultant on Education, Mr. Benson Oweghoro, commended the serenity, clean and beautiful environment of FUNAAB, saying the University was very conducive for learning. Mr. Sokoto had stated that the team was in the University to see what the ICPD had on ground in terms of facilities, curriculum and human resources. He, however, said they were impressed with the facilities they saw. The visiting team suggested that the University Health Centre should be EHR compliant, engage in medical practical sessions and get the approval of the University Management in the development of a good curriculum using various experienced resource persons.

Earlier, Mr. Salih Muhammod-Rabiu, the Chief Medical Record Officer in the University Health Centre, noted that partnering with the HRORBN would go a long way in making the ICPD a force to be reckoned with, while the ICT Consultant for HRORBN, Mr. Kabiru Yusuf assured that the Information and Communication Technology Resource Centre (ICTREC) of the University would be involved in ensuring a smooth take-off of the EHR programme.

Registrar, Four Other Staff Now CIPM Fellows

The University Registrar, Mr. Mathew Ayoola, has been conferred with the highest award of the Chartered Institute of Public Management of Nigeria (CIPM), which is the Fellowship. He was recently conferred alongside four senior members of staff of FUNAAB at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research Guest House, Lagos.

The other staff are the Deputy Director, Senate and Admissions, Mr. Aniediabasi Udofia; the Principal Assistant Registrar, Council Affairs, Mr. Samuel Adeniran; the Chief Planning Officer, Academic Planning, Mr. Olufemi Bamgbose, and the Assistant Registrar, Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Mr. Bamidele Akindele.

The President of the Institute, Archbishop (Professor) Magnus Atilade, decried the common saying that, “government business is nobody’s business”, noting that public managers should not be part of those saying such because they are architects of national development. Archbishop Atilade, who is also the Chairman of Council of CIPM, noted that government business remained with the public managers. Highpoint of the event was the presentation of certificates and plaques to the new inductees.

Alumnus Wins NYSC Award

Mr. Nurudeen Oyelami, a graduate of the University from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), has been conferred with the Akwa-Ibom State honours award as the Most Outstanding Corps Member of the Year. 

Oyelami was called up for the Batch ‘B’ National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in August, 2014 in Akwa-Ibom State. Replicating the discipline instilled on him from FUNAAB, he said he was the first person to be registered in the Orientation Camp with the NYSC State Code, AK/14B/0001. Oyelami was later posted to the Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Ikot Eyo, a remote part of the state, where he participated actively in the Community Development Service (CDS) programme, by teaching people on better ways of farming, computer education and creation of awareness on HIV/AIDS across the community.

Other activities that brought Oyelami into the limelight of the State NYSC Management include the building of a concrete signpost for the school of his primary assignment, construction of volleyball court for nearby school and donation of textbooks to the school library through mobilisation of funds solicited from village heads and philanthropists in the community.

FUNAAB Holds Commendation Service to Honour Late Deputy Dean

The University has held a Commendation Service in honour of its late Don, Dr. Solomon Olubiyo, of the Department of Economics, who was also the Deputy Dean, College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) of FUNAAB, before his demise.

Delivering his sermon, Professor Adewale Dipeolu, Deputy Chaplain, Chapel of Grace of FUNAAB, recalled that he had known the deceased since 1987, when he came for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and served as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management of FUNAAB and that fate had brought them together again as neighbours in the United Kingdom, where they were together for about one year before he (Olubiyo) returned to the University in 2011 as a lecturer in COLMAS.

Professor Dipeolu implored all to take solace that the deceased had gone to be with the Lord where he will know no sorrow, suffering and tears. He admonished the congregation to give everything to God and leave behind good legacies when they are no more. The Deputy Chaplain, however, extolled the virtues of the deceased, saying he pursued righteousness, love, faith, peace, goodness, gentleness and meekness, noting that the late Deputy Dean did not die in vain.

In his tribute, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Adekojo Waheed, said the loss was like a dream even though we cannot question God. According to the Vice-Chancellor, losing a dear one was a ‘cruel’ certainty that affects us in different ways, adding that in a time like this, one feels like one’s most vital parts had been taken-away. He disclosed that the University Senate would miss his invaluable contributions as well his former colleagues, being the foundation Deputy Dean of COLMAS. Professor Oyewole urged the wife and the children of the deceased to be strong because the sweet memories of Dr. Olubiyo would always bring solace at this time of grief.

Speaking at the service, the Acting Dean of COLMAS, Dr. Biola Phillips, described Dr. Olubiyo as a diligent fellow, who offered selfless services to humanity in addition to being an honest and objective person, noting that he would be greatly missed. Dr. Phillips was represented at the occasion by Mr. Jonathan Ekpudu while the Acting Head, Department of Economics, Dr. Sunday Posu, stated that the sudden exit of the late Deputy Dean was a great shock to everyone in the College, saying that he always carried out his duties timely, effectively and efficiently.

The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU-UNAAB), Dr. Festus Adeosun, on behalf of the Union, eulogised Dr. Olubiyo for being a non-compromising colleague, very respectful and always willing to help everyone, as he appealled to all to take comfort in the fact that he contributed his quota to the upliftment of the society. The daughter of the deceased, Miss. Funmilayo Olubiyo, described her father as a kind, happy, responsible and respectful to everyone; irrespective of age or status, adding that he was a hard worker.

Similarly, Mr. Lasisi Kazeem, who gave tributes on behalf of students in the Department of Economics, said he was a father, mentor, motivator, teacher to the core and a hard-worker, who touched lives tremendously, saying that he was so humble that he even accorded respect to students while the deceased’s bosom friend, Ibrahim Nasiru, described him as a truthful, fearless and very committed man, who lived and died for humanity.

Nigeria Can Achieve Food Security -Varsity Don

The Director of the University’s Biotechnology Centre, Professor Olufunmilayo Adebambo, has said that the country will be better positioned to address the food and security challenges bedeviling it, if Biotechnology is adequately funded and adopted. According to her, Biotechnology, which is the technology that is applicable to life; whether dead or alive because the samples of any individual or organism can be used to develop, improve, rate and evaluate their performance.

She said through Biotechnology, the Centre had been able to micro-propagate and multiply plant-lets. “From the single cutting of cassava, you can generate thousands using the micro-propagation method, same with yam, plantain, pineapple and we have been doing that for plantain and pineapple”. On the activities of the Centre and its achievements so far, the Director disclosed that at the Tissue Culture Laboratory, plant-lets are micro-propagated and multiplied.

She noted that “Tissue Culture Laboratory alone could truly supply plants to millions of farmers, if we really invest into plant tissue culture and micro-propagation because from a sucker of plantain, we can generate thousands of suckers, which is put in the greenhouse and then we can multiply it, to be distributed to farmers and they can easily get it at cheaper rates rather than plucking suckers from all over but with micro-propagation, we have already screened them for quality and if we have the full complement of this, the University will really be in money”, while requesting for fund to construct a greenhouse for the Biotechnology Centre.

Professor Adebambo disclosed that the Centre had assisted many people over time to analyse samples of sachet water, adding that "every year, we run about five workshops because we want people to come in, to know and understand what Biotechnology is all about. Last year, we didn’t get much but this year, we had to reduce the cost and we got more of our students to come around and the few of them that came from outside, they were surprised because they didn’t know that we were doing these in FUNAAB. Not only that, this one had exposed them to what they can do in the future because this is supposed to be a money-spinning centre, if only we knew it in Nigeria."

"Students, scientists have been coming from all over Nigeria to this place, from the Lagos State University (LASU), University of Lagos (UNILAG), from University of Nigeria (UNN) and the River State University of Science and Technology (RSUST). They sometimes sleep here to run their samples. Last year, we were able to generate about N4million for this Centre, although we budgeted for about N2million. At the end of last year, we decided to budget N2.5million for the Chemistry Laboratory downstairs and N2.5million for the Biotechnology Laboratory upstairs and I think by August or September, we had made over N5million”.

Highlighting some of the achievements so far made by the Centre, Professor Adebambo disclosed that the University has six lines of improved local chickens, adding that she started the project in 1994 and by 2004, when she went for an exhibition in Abuja with 46 other Universities, FUNAAB got the award for the best indigenous poultry breed and retained the award in 2005, where it competed with 53 other Universities. She said whenever the University officials travelled, they always went with one-day, one-week, two-week and four-week chicks and would end up selling all the chicks as they were in high demands.

Giving an update on the indigenous poultry breed, Professor Adebambo said through the Bills and Melinda Gates Foundation, she had a vision to empower rural household with indigenous chickens and bring people out of poverty, noting that the University had consistently and persistently been developing the local chicken. From the local chicken that produced just 40-60 eggs in the backyard yearly, they had been developed to produce 200-250 eggs per annum and instead of the 39 grams egg, they now produce between 55-60 grams egg.

The Director further disclosed that instead of the white eggs, the local breeds now produce pink and brown eggs, saying that although some of them still lay white eggs and instead of the mature weight of point nine kilogram, the birds at maturity weigh as much as 1.2-1.5 kilograms, so that at the end of the day, point of lay birds cannot be differentiated from the exotic birds.

“With the funding from the Bills and Melinda Gates Foundation, we now have the white, black, brown and the ash-line of the indigenous breed. There are also two mid-lines, which has 25 or 75 percent local blood. They are meat-lines, they are bigger with tougher meat than the imported stock. We can hardly meet the request of our customers here and other Universities have been taking our stocks. The University of Ilorin bought about 300 day-old-chicks last year and Landmark University recently bought about 300 chicks from us because our day-old-chicks are Parent Stock (PS). If you are to buy PS outside, it goes for N750 for a day-old but we sell our own here for N300 because these are Nigerian chickens for the Nigerian people”.

Professor Adebambo said when she was the Dean, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM) of the University, she was able to buy a 2,000-capacity incubator, which hatched about 500 eggs weekly but with the Bills and Melinda Gates Foundation, she had been able to acquire 114,000-capacity incubator for the University. She advocated for more funds to be allotted into housing so that the University could generate more birds and be able to supply the whole of the southwest.

The Director said she was also looking forward to a time when the University would have an egg processor, which would give eggs longer shelf-life, whereby eggs could be brought in and processed into dry powdery form and packaged like milk for school children or be used to make vegetable soup to provide the protein requirements for the populace. She also recommended that the University considered having a processing centre, whereby live-birds are purchased either from the University or brought in from outside and are dressed for individuals at a token fee, rather than depending on imported chickens, in which they do not know their shelf-life.

TO ALL PROSPECTIVE FPY STUDENTS AND PARENTS/ GUARDIANS

Prospective FPY Students should note that the list of students that will participate in the Farm Practical Year Programme for 2015/2016 Session is yet to be made public until when the results for 2014/2015 session examinations are released.

However, Parents/ Guardians are hereby guided to contact the Director, COBFAS for any information about the programme on the following telephone number and e-mail address:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +234-803-484-0333.

Thank you.

Prof. E.O. Fakoya

AMREC Empowers Kolanut Farmers

The Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC) of the University has empowered farmers in the Remo and Ijebu areas of Ogun State with improved Kolanut seedlings, which have potentials for higher yields. Making the presentation during the Capacity Building Training on Production and Processing of Kolanut, the Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, said the gesture was in line with the extension mandate of the University, aimed at boosting the agricultural enterprise of farmers by empowering them through the replacement of their aged and unproductive Kolanut trees with improved varieties, for higher yields.

According to him, over the years, farmers had not demonstrated commensurate capacity to match the increasing demand for Kolanut at both local and inter-regional levels due to low productivity, hence, the need for the training to ensure that farmers benefitted from the economic potentials of Kolanut, reputed to be the third most valued world stimulant, out of which Nigeria accounted for 70 percent of its global production. The Director assured farmers of AMREC’s commitment by intensifying efforts at keeping them abreast of innovations and improved technology in Kolanut cultivation.

The State Director, Tree Crops and Rural Development Services, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Gbenga Oyesola, who was represented by Mr. Adegboyega Odulate, stressed the importance of Kolanut among cash crops and disclosed that the state government was ready to partner with relevant agencies, educational institutions and research centres in regulating and enhancing Kolanut value-chain, from production to utilization stage with a view to reviving the crop’s lost glory and getting maximum benefit. He stated further that the state government had almost concluded plans to establish a Kolanut plantation that would be allocated to groups and individual farmers.

Participants were educated on the various credit schemes they could accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria and were also advised to form themselves into co-operative groups, to get available benefits and support from commercial institutions and government. Two prominent Kolanut varieties: Cola nitida and Cola accumunata, were showcased while Messrs. Solomon Adebiyi and Francis Mokwunye, both of the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN), Ibadan, Oyo State, updated participants’ knowledge on the potentials and cultural practices associated with Kolanut for improved yield, processing and preservation.

How to Attain Better Healthcare - Nutritionists

The Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter, recently met in the University to discuss on how to enhance better healthcare for the people through the consumption of healthy food, during its 2015 Annual Symposium titled, “Nutrition Transition and the Health of Nigerians”.

Welcoming participants, Dr. Wasiu Afolabi, the Chapter Chairman of the Society, who is also the immediate past Deputy Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC) of FUNAAB, appreciated the unalloyed support given by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, the University Management and corporate sponsors such as Wyteh Nutritio, Coca-Cola Bottling Company (Nig.) Plc, Dufil Prima Foods (Nig.) Limited and Nestle Plc, among others. He noted that the Chapter was the first to be inaugurated eight years ago and it had been a yearly tradition of the Society to organise an annual event in a bid to fulfilling its mandate.

Dr. Afolabi added that this year’s theme was unique because of the contemporary issues discussed that bordered on the prevalence of diet and nutrition-related diseases such as diabetics, stroke, cancer and heart diseases, which had the tendency of hindering the nation’s economic development. He added that the programme was held to recognize and appreciate the efforts of the Society’s founding fathers, fulfill its set objectives and co-operate with Universities, research institutes and similar bodies for the exchange of professional information on the promotion of human nutrition.

While presenting his paper titled, “Dietary Acculturation and Nutrition Transition in Nigeria”, Professor Babatunde Oguntona, defined acculturation as the process by which immigrants adopt the attitudes, values, customs, beliefs, and behaviours of a new culture while dietary acculturation is the process by which immigrants adopt the dietary practices of their host country. Professor Oguntona described nutrition transition as the shift in dietary consumption and energy expenditure that coincides with economic, demographic, and epidemiological changes. He, therefore, advised members of the public to reduce the quantity of red and processed meat being consumed so as to reduce total mortality rate and cancer cases by recommending the consumption of white meat.
           

Presenting his paper titled, “Non-Communicable Diseases in Nigeria”, Dr. Ajani Sanusi, Faculty of Public Health, University of Ibadan, said non-communicable diseases accounted for 63 percent of all deaths globally, as 80 percent of such deaths occur in low/middle income countries while more than 90 million of the deaths happened before the age of 60 years. He highlighted some common non-communicable diseases in Nigeria to include cancers, diabetics, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, among others.

He suggested the following in the prevention and management of the diseases: government policy and plan of action, available health services, accessible and adequate private/public health insurance, research and documentation as well as the provision of enabling environment. He, therefore, charged the participants to be mindful of what they eat and be conscious of their environment. The programme was rounded-off with the presentation of the “Lifetime Membership Award” to Professor Clara Oguntona and the “Great Achiever in Nutrition Award” to Professor Babatunde Oguntona while Professor Lateef Sanni, the Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), appreciated the keynotes speakers for attending the symposium.

Varsity Microfinance Bank to Collect Revenue for Ogun State

The Ogun State Government has appointed UNAAB Microfinance Bank Limited (UMFB), as a revenue collection bank for the collection of taxes, levies, rates and dues on behalf of the state government within the Abeokuta metropolis, as the bank has also concluded arrangement with REMITA, a financial collection and payment platform, for the collection and disbursement of online payment of salaries of University staff, directly from the Accountant-General of the Federation’s Office in Abuja.

The Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Abimbola Adewale, said the partnership with REMITA would make the bank to be at par with other commercial banks in paying salaries of government workers. He added that based on the bank’s 2014 impressive performance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had recognized and approved 9 percent single digit interest rate Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) loan of N10m for customers of the bank, adding that the disbursement of the loan had already commenced. Mr. Adewale stated that the focus of the bank was on the customer, whose lives should be improved upon through available credit facilities followed by corporate social responsibility initiatives.

“Just last week, we satisfied our customers by bringing down the interest rate on one of our facilities. We got the approval of CBN for an SME loan of N10m at single digit interest rate of 9 percent. It means that if a customer of UMFB has taken loans thrice at 24 percent, in the next loan he/she is to take, we will scheme him/her into the CBN loan where he will pay 9 percent interest, while the customer that hitherto pays N14,000 interest on N1m, will now pay N3,000 on the same amount because of the CBN loan”.

The MD said the bank was also introducing a package called Loan Buyback. The package is aimed at ending the untold hardship being experienced by members of the University community in the hands of other banks while soliciting for credit facilities. “We don’t mind which bank or financial institution you have taken loan, the moment the loan is below N750,000, we are willing to buy-it-back. If we buy that loan back, we will give you additional incentives and you will come back to where you are”. Mr. Adewale revealed that old customers, who had maintained accounts with the bank in the past, but left for one reason or the other, can now come back as they would be required to pay nothing for account reactivation. This is being done through the #bringbackourcustomers campaign#, an initiative of the bank meant to cement cordial and sustainable partnership with old and new customers.

He stated further that the bank had taken all precautionary measures against fraud and malpractices by strengthening its internal control mechanism. “What we have done is to first of all strengthen our internal control process. We have also strengthened our Audit Department. These two departments are well staffed, well equipped and manned by professionals. The Internal Auditor we currently have is a Chartered Accountant, a former Head of Internal Control Unit as well as a Chartered Microfinance Banker. So, having achieved that, they have the professional competence and skills to handle those departments”.

He equally promised that shareholders and depositors’ funds were safe,  assuring that the financial institution, popularly referred to as “Under the Tree of Mercy”, would continue to recruit professionals in the interest of the bank, Mr. Adewale said the UMFB was now being run by seasoned professionals which include five Chartered Microfinance Bankers and two Chartered Accountants, therefore, allaying the fears of stakeholders on the possible collapse of the bank, adding that the capital base of the bank is now about N72m, enough to weather the storm of any liquidity threat, he assured. He disclosed that in 2014, the bank closed with a profit-before-tax of N17.8m and that the bank was still able to recoup all the previous year’s losses.

“As at September 30 this year, our unaudited profit is N19m. Very soon, we will invite you to come and celebrate with us”, attributing the feat achieved by the bank to the vision of its Board of Directors and adherence to due process, which ensured that procedures were strictly followed, while granting credit facility to customers. Mr. Adewale said the future of the Nigerian economy relied on the activities of microfinance banks, which were established to make loans, credit and trading facilities available to the poor and low income earners. He, however, observed that UNAAB Microfinance Bank Limited was one of the customer-friendly banks around, urging the existing and prospective customers to patronise the bank and to also endeavour to visit its website at: www.microfinancebank.unaab.edu.ng

NAAS Renovates Campus RoadMap

As part of efforts at fulfilling its electoral promises upon assumption of office and to assist in providing proper guide to visitors, staff and students, the 2014/2015 executive of the Nigerian Association of Agricultural Students (NAAS) of the University, has renovated the FUNAAB Roadmap located on the University Ceremonial Road.

Explaining what spurred them into taking up the renovation, NAAS President, Adekunle Adeoye, a 300-level student in the Department of Animal Physiology, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), said the roadmap was originally constructed by the 2008/2009 executive of the Association, which had since faded away. “We want to start a capital project for the Association, so we looked around on what will be of benefit to the University, then we thought of the faded roadmap, which was earlier constructed in 2009 by our predecessors”, he stated, while appreciating the Directorate of Physical Planning for its support in the re-construction work.

However, Adeoye said the project cost the sum of N47,000, which was sourced through external assistance and dues levied on members. He said upon completion, the project was appreciated by members of NAAS, as the re-construction plan was part of the proposal presented on assumption of office. He listed other projects carried out during his tenure to include the construction of 10 concrete benches on the practical site in the Directorate of University Farms (DUFARMS), publication of NAAS magazine which was distributed to students free-of-charge and the implementation of empowerment and orientation programmes for members, among others.