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News Published in December 2015

WAAPP, AMREC, BoI to Promote Agricultural Productivity

The West African Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP), in collaboration with the Training and Farm Demonstration (TFD) Programme, Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC) of the University, have organised a Field-day Workshop, to gather feedback on the effectiveness of the various training initiatives to enhance farmers’ productivity, as the Bank of Industry (BoI), is also unfolding a new credit package that would promote agriculture.  

The Project Coordinator of WAAPP in the University and Director, Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Professor Akin Omotayo, has reiterated the commitment of WAAPP Nigeria to developing best agricultural methods and practices that would increase the productivity of farmers in rural areas, adding that the objectives of the project include the dissemination of improved technologies among farmers, improvement of the welfare of farmers across Africa, and the empowerment of farmers to increase their productivity.

Professor Omotayo disclosed that the training, which began last April, was not to introduce a new occupation that the farmers knew nothing about, but to build on what they were accustomed to with new technological and improved methods that would bring about maximum output. He noted that the donation of improved seeds like rice, different varieties of maize with high protein content, cassava stems and fingerlings, which have very high tendency for survival and productivity would make life better for the rural farmers.

The Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, appreciated the farmers for accepting to plant the rice and maize seedlings given to them by WAAPP. He encouraged them to continue the work, not minding the challenges involved, assuring them of the unflinching support of WAAPP through FUNAAB. He said that unlike other communities that did not utilize the seeds given to them, the Adao Community farmers, made the best use of the opportunity. Professor Omotayo formally handed-over a deep well and Earthen Fish Pond donated by WAAPP to farmers in adopted villages in the Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State, stating further that a smoking kiln equipment would soon be given for their communal use.

A representative of the benefitting farmers’ group, Alhaji Oladunjoye Akorede, expressed his appreciation to WAAPP, as he implored other farmers to embrace the project for their own benefit. He enumerated several benefits he had gained from the project to include single-handedly owning a poultry farm which has about 750 layers of birds that produce a dozen crates of eggs at once. Alhaji Akorede thanked the Project Coordinator and other stakeholders for making farmers to reap the dividends of the new and improved method of farming that had greatly improved their productivity. According to him, new seeds of maize, cassava stem, rice, plantain tuber and others had helped to reduce the period of harvesting their farm produce and yielding maximum output. He promised to teach as many farmers as possible on what they needed to know about the new farming methods.

In a similar development, the Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, has encouraged farmers in Ogun State to persevere and be diligent in their vocation as better days were still coming. Professor Olowe stated this during the training session held for farmers on Cotton Production and Management in Nigeria, at Ijaka-Oke, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State. Professor Olowe’s optimism is as a result of the ongoing effort between the government and stakeholders in the cotton industry, which when concluded, would boost the economic status of farmers, noting that the government could not afford to ignore the cotton sector.

The Director of Tree Crops, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Gbenga Oyesola, also stated that farmers would soon be reaping direct benefits from an international collaboration tagged, Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Food Security, an initiative of both the United Nations and the African Union in tackling food insecurity and poverty in Africa.

Mr. Oyesola, said the project would tackle the challenges of climate change on food security, as farmers would be trained and equipped on practical methods of cultivation that would be suitable to meet up their negative ecological circumstances. Mr. Oyesola, an alumnus of FUNAAB, assured that AMREC was being partnered to ensure an impactful outreach of the initiative to a good number of farmers in Ogun State and to ensure that farmers benefitted from the programme. The Chairperson, National Cotton Association of Nigeria, South-West, Chief (Mrs.) Lola Kushimo-Adeoye, on her part, enjoined male cotton growers to encourage their wives to develop interest in the vocation by establishing their personal farms rather than being ordinary farm-hand-helps.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Industry (BoI) is set to sponsor a new credit proposal, designed to promote the maximisation of value chains in sugarcane production and processing for economic rejuvenation. The Lagos State Officer for the bank, Mr. Raymond Adenuga, said BoI was inspired to “develop a paper that will recommend the financing of the processing of sugarcane at not more than 9 percent interest rate per annum”. The initiative to design a new credit line for farmers and processors, was a fall-out of the recent Workshop on Sugarcane Production, themed “Maximising the Sugarcane Value Chain in Nigeria”, organised by AMREC, in collaboration with the Calvary College of Technology, Papalanto, Ogun State and the Ogun State Agricultural Development Project (OGADEP).

For farmers to optimally benefit from the facility when fully developed, Mr. Adenuga enjoined them to form themselves into cooperative groups with the aim of registering joint business ventures because BoI does not give loans to private individuals but only recognises corporate bodies. He reiterated the need for proper record-keeping by farmers and the importance of transacting their financial activities through commercial banks, to be eligible for credit facility from BoI.

The Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, stated that the training was timely, considering the fact that the retardation in the production capacity of sugar in Nigeria had started generating concern on whether it could meet the needs of the growing population. Resource persons present at the workshop included the Director, Centre for Sugarcane Value Chain Research and Development of Calvary College of Technology, Papalanto, Mr. Lawrence Chima, who spoke on the topic, “Sustainable Processing of Sugarcane under the Value Chain Development Programme”; Mr. Popoola Adedayo of OGADEP; the Programme Leader, Training and Farm Demonstration of AMREC, Dr. Olalekan Olaoye; and representatives of corporate bodies such as Lafarge Cement Company, All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN); and a Royal Father, the Onipapa of Papalanto, Oba Rasak Famuyiwa.

Sweetpotato Project Comes to FUNAAB

The Sweetpotato for Health and Wealth in Nigeria, a project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and implemented by the International Potato Centre in six states, namely: Nasarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kwara, and Osun, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is now in the University.

During the test-running exercise of baking bread with Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) Puree,  the Project Food Scientist, Dr. Ganiyat Olatunde, stated that the main objective behind the idea was to build a community of practice that would effectively help to reduce food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty in Nigeria, by leveraging on the benefits of OFSP, as well as improving market opportunities for the various types of sweetpotato. The test was supervised by Antonio Magnaghi, Tawanda Muzhingi and Dr. Justus Manje of the International Potato Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, while the  other implementing institutions are the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike (NRCRI); the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro and the Helen Keller International (HKI).

Dr. Olatunde, who revealed the market characterization of the project, said even though several varieties of sweetpotato were produced and supplied in large quantities to markets across Nigeria, the OFSP variety was still in short supply. According to her, “FUNAAB has been working with selected enterprises to establish process and quality parameters for bread and sweetpotato crisps while its economic viability is also being documented”. She said that technical research had shown that substituting wheat flour in bread with up to 30 percent OFSP puree, gave acceptable level of loaf and sensory properties, adding that through adaptive research with one of the enterprises in Abuja, sweetpotato crisps from OFSP roots were now being sold in markets across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and was in high demand and that work was going on to include OFSP roots in other baked and fried products. Dr. Olatunde said that FUNAAB was one of the collaborating partners playing the role of developing value-added products from OFSP, due to the advantages it had over other potato species and there are two different stages: product development and commercial viability of the product.

The project is being coordinated by an Agricultural Economist and the Principal Investigator, Professor Adewale Dipeolu, who said there was supply of the OFSP in some localities in Ogun State. Professor Dipeolu, who is the Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS) of FUNAAB, highlighted some economic benefits of OFSP to include the quality of being converted into puree for the baking of bread, cakes and pastries.  The Principal Investigator said that some people also use the OFSP to garnish their rice before eating, while some eat it directly. On where OFSP would be in the next five years, the don stated that agriculture was bound to be the ‘oil’ of the nation’s economy, saying that there should be alternatives just as cassava bread, hence there should be sweetpotato bread, sweetpotato juice, among others. 

Resumption Schedule for Fresh and Returning Students

The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, wishes to inform the public that in preparation for the commencement of academic activities for 2015/2016 Academic Session, the Senate has approved the following resumption schedule for Fresh and

Returning Students:

  1. Arrival of Fresh Students: Monday, January 11, 2016;
  2. Clearance, Registration and Orientation for Fresh Students: Monday, January 11 – Friday, January 22, 2016;
  3. Online Registration of Returning Students: Monday, January 11, 2016 – Friday, February 19, 2016;
  4. Arrival of Returning Students: Sunday, January 24, 2016; 
  5. Commencement of First Semester Lectures for all Students: Monday, January 25, 2016.

Both Fresh and Returning Students are requested to check the University Website: www.unaab.edu.ng for further information on fees, accommodation and registration

procedures.

Payment of acceptance fee by new students will commence on Monday, January 04, 2016.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole, wishes all FUNAABITES a rewarding new Academic Session.

EU to Partner FUNAAB

The Deputy Head, European Union in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Richard Young, has stated that the European Union is set to collaborate with the University in three important areas, namely: Tuning, Horizon 2020 and the Erasmus plus programmes. Mr. Young, who is also an EU Minister disclosed this during a meeting he had with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole. According to him, the three programmes exist in terms of collaboration,  and one of them is the Tuning programme, which has developed into a process, an approach to re-designing, develop, implement, evaluate and enhance quality first, second and third cycle degree programmes.

He said Tuning focuses not on educational systems but on structures with emphasis on the subject area level, that is the content of studies, adding that educational systems were primarily responsibilities of governments while contents of educational programmes are that of higher educational institutions and their academic staff. He added that the name, Tuning, was chosen so as to reflect the idea that Universities do not have uniform degree programmes. He lauded the Vice-Chancellor for being active in running the Tuning programme, which had recorded huge success. Meanwhile, Mr. Young stated that the Horizon 2020 programme was designed to promote academic research collaboration with Europe and other countries. He added that Horizon 2020 would help to achieve this by emphasising excellent science, industrial leadership in tackling societal challenges. He noted that the goal was to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together.

He declared that the third programme, which is Erasmus, formerly known as Erasmus Mundus, now rebranded as Erasmus Plus, allows for Higher Education Institutions in Europe and Nigeria to collaborate, noting that it was aimed at boosting skills, employability and supporting the modernisation of education, training and youth systems. According to him, once the collaboration framework was put in place, it would enable them do part of their courses in Europe by making it possible for students to participate in Joint Master’s Degree programme while staff would benefit from capacity building programmes.

 

Researcher Unveils Climate Smart Agriculture

Nigerian farmers would soon start enjoying an agricultural system, which seeks to increase their productivity and protect the environment, called the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). According to a Research Fellow with the University’s Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Dr. John Oyedepo, the initiative would also bring about food security for all.

Dr. Oyedepo said the 2010 Declaration by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, which noted that “the rate at which the world is producing food and agricultural produce is not sustainable and unless food productivity is increased by 60 percent in the next few years, the world will be in problem”, culminated into the research on CSA. He said the practice involved studying the climate using technologies as the bulk of farmers in Africa were peasants that do not have access to information on agriculture. This fact, he said, had crippled their knowledge on when to start planting and when to stop planting due to the erratic pattern of rainfall and atmospheric temperature, stating that “farmers need to be armed with information in order to plan, know what to avoid during planting, what to plant and when not to plant”.

The Research Fellow said the project was highly Information Technology-intensive, and in order to make it work, it was able to win a grant from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), which IFSERAR utilised in the procurement of special data infrastructure such as a ground-receiving station that can download and process/analyse the information captured by helping to determine the surface temperature, African Forest Fire (which helps in locating the actual point where a fire is burning) and predict local precipitation by looking at the cloud temperature.

He said FUNAAB Radio would be used to create the necessary awareness in addition to the “Interactive Voice Response (IVR)” mechanism, whereby a farmer could call for an inquiry by speaking in his/her local dialect while the IVR would translate into English, processed and the farmer gets his/her response or feedback in his/her local dialect.

Dr. Oyedepo added that in order to make the project beneficial to rural farmers, they would be organised into “Climate Smart Villages”, which would allow them to have forest-land information of how to build resilience and adapt to the impact of climate change. Through this, the farmers would come together and have access to the viewing centres, where they would get the required information. While about five centres have been proposed across the country, the headquarters would be domiciled in FUNAAB. He said the sustainability of the viewing centres was already inculcated in the proposed budget that would come with either a demonstration plot or the adaptation pilot project. Differentiating between the traditional way of farming and the CSA, Dr. Oyedepo said the new approach would help to remove the ‘blind’ way of farming system in the sense that it involved working with information that would help to avoid disaster or loss, which was common to traditional farming.

He commended TETFund for its contributions toward the take-off of the project as well as the African Development Bank (AfDB), among other corporate supporters, saying “there are donors willing to invest into such ventures. Government can also make laws to mandate multinationals to open up farms to support project like this or ask them to devote certain percentage of their taxes to support agriculture. While we on our own will meet some of this private companies and tell them what we do. By doing all these, we would have opened up thousands of hectares of land and put in graduates that have no job to have something doing”.

Find Solution to Rustling Problems - VC Tasks SOGREDEN

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, has charged the Society for Grassland Research and Development in Nigeria (SOGREDEN), to play a vital role in resolving the rustling activities that are causing disaffection among traditional herdsmen and indigenous crop farmers in the country. He made the call during the maiden biennial conference of the Society, tagged “Towards a Sustainable Utilisation of Forage and Grassland Resources for Improved Livestock Production in Nigeria”.

 

The Vice-Chancellor urged members of the Society to come up with modalities that would make government policies adequate to resolve the re-occurring clashes between herdsmen and indigenous crop farmers that led to loss of lives and wanton destruction of properties. Professor Oyewole, who is also the President, Association of African Universities (AAU), therefore, appealed to federal and state governments, as well as members of the Society to support cutting edge research in a bid to putting an end to the problem. He also declared that SOGREDEN had a great role to play in the provision and management of forage resources for the large population of livestock in Nigeria. Professor Oyewole stated that FUNAAB has 10 Colleges and 42 Departments offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, noting that FUNAAB was the only University to have a full-fledged and accredited Department of Pasture and Range Management, under the College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM).

 

The President of SOGREDEN, Professor Olufemi Onifade, revealed that the Society was incorporated in November 2010, following the stakeholders’ meeting held in FUNAAB in 2008. Professor Onifade, who was the immediate past Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS) of the University, reiterated the need for the training of technical officers, as most staff with relevant training in Pasture and Range Management in government ministries, had retired. Professor Onifade decried the status of the natural grassland resources, which was rapidly declining due to man’s intervention and the adverse effects of climate change, adding that the Society needed to plan ahead for the production of pasture seeds and establish the era in which farmers purchased animals without adequate provision of feed, most especially for the dry season, was long gone.

 

The President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), Professor Israel Adu, recalled that the establishment of NIAS by an Act of the Nigerian Parliament, No. 26 of 2007, was amended in April 2015 and saddled with the powers to regulate all matters relating to Animal Husbandry in Nigeria. Professor Adu, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University, stated that Nigeria had about 40 million hectares of grazeable land out of the 93 million hectares of country’s land area, adding that the available grazeable area was under pressure due to the increased number of available livestock, improved health services, land use patterns, effects of climate change, among others. He, therefore, commended the incumbent Vice-Chancellor for the tremendous growth witnessed in the University, praying that God should give him the grace to carry the burden of office. He disclosed that when he was Vice-Chancellor, the burden seemed lighter in terms of student and staff numbers. But today, the number had increased astronomically, meaning that the responsibilities would be more, he added.

 

 

Nigeria's Cocoa is Highly Valuable - FUNAAB Don

Professor Peter Okuneye, a renowned researcher and scholar in the field of Agricultural and Environmental Economics in the University, has debunked allegations that the nation's cocoa has lost its value and does not meet international standards. Rather, the Don noted that the quality of cocoa being produced in the country remains one of the best in the world. Professor Okuneye made a case for reliance on cocoa and other tree crops, which were a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s. He disclosed further that in a research he conducted, which bordered on the environmental impact of tree crops under the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and which was sponsored by the United Nations Empowerment Programme (UNEP), he studied the trade policies, level of production and the environmental effects to ascertain if farmers should continue to adopt the use of chemicals and what would be the effect on the level of production, soil and people to get excellent results. According to him, “we found out that what the international organisations were saying, that Nigerian cocoa had been so polluted because of some chemicals, is not true. We were lucky that during that period, the International Cocoa Organisation wanted to put a ban on Nigerian cocoa to the tune of about 600,000 metrics tonnes not to be sold but that study, which we presented to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), opened the eyes of the International Cocoa Organisation to the fact that it is not our own production that has led to increase in the chemicals that they used in London, where they stored the cocoa, so Nigerian Cocoa was therefore accepted right on the shore, rather than after storage by the International Cocoa Organisation in London, and that assisted us to increase the level of production and the level of marketable surplus of cocoa, not only nationwide, but worldwide".

Speaking on another research activity which has been of economic relevance to the country, the University don stated that “in a research, which was also funded by UNEP on rubber production, we found out that rubber production was affected because farmers were enticed by the high prices arising from SAP. So, they were then tapping the rubber even up to the stems and almost to the leaves. So, the people from Delta, Edo and Cross Rivers States tapped the rubber to the extent that the rubber trees started to collapse and dry up, meaning that extension works needed to be stepped up for them to know the limit of tapping on the rubber, as there was no increased level of rubber production because of the international market available. So, I am happy to say that governments in Delta, Edo and Cross River States adopted our findings and with this, they have increased their levels of rubber production. In the case of fisheries, people were using various types of chemicals to kill the fish in some fish ponds by some farmers without their knowledge, thereby discouraging some people towards building concrete ponds or river ponds and with that, when we called their attention to that, what they needed to do was to fortify their surroundings to protect their various fish ponds, that really assisted them and further encouraged them towards increasing their level of fish production”. He also disclosed that many states in the country had benefited from his research breakthroughs.

Professor Okuneye added that his research work led to the intensification of the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme in Epe Area of Lagos State, whereby the would-be farmers, who could be holders of the National Certificate in Education (NCE), National Diploma (ND), Higher National Diploma (HND), Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) or Masters’ Degree holders from any field, could apply and they were carefully selected and trained for six months in various areas of agriculture such as poultry, fishery, piggery and crop production. They were then given land to practice. Professor Okuneye added that he also played a vital role in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), where he was able to impact on the Delta State government on the need to put in place a cassava-based production system involving women, men, community and starting from the level of production to processing and establishing some mill producing the cassava flour, cassava pallet and cassava chips. “This, we did between 2007 and 2010 and it is still in place. We assisted them in managing the programme for three years and they have been benefiting from it over the years”, he said.

Other contributions of Professor Okuneye include breaking the constraints to agricultural productivity in developing countries; strategies for the empowerment of small and medium scale farmers to achieve commercial agriculture through research; extension and farmer linkages, using agriculture to reduce poverty and achieve food security in sub-Saharan African nations; establishing a road map for the diversification of developing economy through agro-allied activities; analyzing the impacts of other sectors on agricultural development; assessing the impacts of socioeconomic activities on the environment; programming agricultural production, processing, storage and marketing for value addition, food security and exports as well as meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and building models on economic instruments to combat environmental degradation in different nations.

Professor Okuneye, of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), has about 40 years experience in teaching and research, taught over 10,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students and has written over 150 articles published in learned journals, books, monographs, referred proceedings and conferences.

FMW Partners DPR in Photographic Training

The Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management (FMW), College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM), has partnered the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) of the University, in the training of final year students of the Department in the art of photography. The training, which was part of the students’ industrial training programme, was carried out by the Assistant Chief Technical Officer in the Directorate, Mr. Emmanuel Saba.

Speaking at the “5-day Nature photographic Training”, Mr. Saba described photography as the art of writing with light. He said a good picture informs, communicates and entertains. The resource person added that good photographs expose the beauty of the environment by serving as incomegeneration vocation for millions of people worldwide. While advising the students to be serious-minded in their educational pursuits, he urged relevant authorities to provide the enabling environment for them to excel through the provision of tools and instruments.

Some of the students expressed satisfaction with the training and advised that such should be extended to other final year students in the University. Mr. Olakunle Ogunyemi, President of COLERM Students’ Association, said he had benefited a lot from the training on how to handle the camera, take good pictures and edit photographs using the Photoshop. He urged the University Management and the National Universities Commission (NUC) to include such training in the University curricula, to enable youths possess the skills and competences needed to face life after school. On his part, Forestry and Wildlife Students' Association (FOWISA) President, Mr. Samson Ige, said the training had changed his perception of photographers, because many do not appreciate their good works, as he called for the inclusion of art, crafts and other vocations that would enable students to do things with their hands, after graduation.

Miss. Tosin Adeniyi revealed that the training made a lot of difference in her life, urging her colleagues to always be time-conscious. She wished that FUNAAB adopted a similar training for final year students. In his remarks, Dr. Oluyinka Akintunde, the Forestry and Wildlife Departmental IT Coordinator thanked the University Management for approving the training for the students, saying it had achieved the objectives for which it was organised, advising the students to make judicious use of the knowledge acquired during the training.

FUNAAB Staff Becomes UNESCO Fellow

Dr. Olubukola Adenubi, a lecturer in the College of Veterinary Medicine (COLVET) of the University, has been conferred with the 2015 L’Oréal-United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for Women in Science Doctoral Fellowship. She was among the nine recipients that bagged the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Doctoral Fellowships. In qualifying for the award, 12 female scientists from across sub-Saharan Africa were selected for their outstanding works and impact in the scientific field.

This year, applications were received from 19 countries due to the increasing awareness of the programme and commitment to advancing women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Dr. Adenubi, who is also a Schlumberger Faculty for the Future Fellow, is currently pursuing her PhD programme at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her research interest focuses on Tick Repellent and Acaricide, as well as other potential biological activities of Seventeen Plant Species.

Speaking on the fellowship, Sandeep Rai, Managing Director of L’Oréal South Africa remarked: “For the last 17 years, with the For Women in Science programme, we have been fighting to advance the cause of women scientists worldwide. Much has been achieved: more than 2 000 women have been recognised worldwide, the programme has gained recognition from the international scientific community, a springboard to enable women to go further and rise to greater heights. Science is part of our DNA and we are really proud of all the women who continue to make a difference in Africa through our programme.”