The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako has highlighted the problems facing farmers in the nation and that if the challenges can be addressed, the quest for food security and economic development would be achieved. He made this disclosure while addressing the topic, “Nigeria at 60: The Role of Agricultural Institutions in Nation Building” on an Independence Day Special Live programme, “Your Image”, of the Ogun State Television (OGTV), Abeokuta.
Prof. Salako said the invasion of various farmland by cattle rearers was a major challenge farmers were facing in recent times, noting that the cattle rearers and herders had destroyed many farmlands over the years, including research farms with its adverse effect on the image of the University. This tends to discourage individuals from going into crop farming. He then appreciated the intervention of the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba (Dr.) Adedotun Gbadebo, for speaking with the Fulani community in Abeokuta; which had brought about change to the level of the menace. Speaking on the Universities of Agriculture engaging in mass food production, the Vice-Chancellor said that the core mandate of such specialised universities is not to fully engage in mass production of food, but to engage in agricultural research. However, he said on the part of FUNAAB, the University had been able to produce some cash crops such as maize, cassava among others and sell to its immediate environment under the Odeda Local Government axis.
“We are involved in food production, but not to the extent of feeding the whole of Ogun State, if we get the support from the government, we can do that”, he added. Speaking on staff development in the University, the Vice-Chancellor noted that under his watch, over 217 staffers had been trained under the auspices of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). He said that in order to support further development of staff, the University does encourage staff that wish to acquire further academic and professional qualifications, to embark on such. On managing the various University based unions, Prof. Salako said “It has always been dialogue”, noting that he always tell the unions during dialogue what he can afford to do. He emphasised that there is always a solution for every problem during dialogue, where both parties would have to sit down and agree, but “We have to be sincere to ourselves”, he added.