Don advocates conferment of national awards on farmers, reseachers to boost agriculture

Prof. Gideon Agbaje, the Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, Landmark University, has advocated the conferment of national awards on researchers and farmers to boost the agriculture sector. Agbaje stated this while presenting the university’s 1st inaugural lecture in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.
He spoke on the topic: Agro-Innovation: Medicament for Farmers’ Predicament and National Food Security.
The don maintained that such awards would go a long way to encourage and motivate others to invest in agriculture as a business and vocation.
Agbaje said the institution of such award would spur practitioners to have positive mindset on the viability of the sector as the most promising option to fight poverty and promote food security.
This, he said, would help to reduce tension occasioned by food scarcity and insufficiency thereby restore the dignity of the citizenry.
He also urged government to make the purchase of locally produced raw materials mandatory, especially agricultural based, so as to promote and encourage the citizens’ preference for local contents.
He suggested the placement of high import tax on agricultural commodities that can be produced locally.
According to him, such gesture will discourage the indiscriminate dumping of food, products, jute sacks/bags, pulp, and oil spill absorbent among others.
He described poverty as the farmers’ major predicament in the country, saying that a typical Nigerian farmer manages production at the subsistence level and could hardly handle agriculture risk factors.
``They often times resign to fate by applying indigenous knowledge at the expense of available research technology.
``In Nigeria, as in other developing nations, the risk specifically include unreliable rainfall, pests and diseases outbreak, soil erosion, fertility issues as well as low yielding crops,” he said.
Prof Aize Obayan, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, in her remark, disclosed that the institution had recently achieved a major breakthrough in the production of high variety of tomato as well as in its brown rice from Fadama project.
She said most of the products are now being sold to the people of the communities through a dedicated market strategy tagged: `Market Evangelism’.
Prof. Adio Folarin of the Ayo Babalola University, in a goodwill message, praised the institution management for its foresight and urged it to maintain the tempo.

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