WAAPP Partners FIIRO On Agro-Industrial Research, Technology Development
THE National Project Coordinator of West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), Prof. Damian Chikwendu has pledged his agency support and collaboration with the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) in the area of agro-industrial research and technology development.
Chikwendu, who paid a working visit to the institute on Tuesday said WAAPP with collaborate with FIIRO in developing more agro-technology equipment and supports it effort in the area research.
While commending the director-general of the institute, Dr. Gloria Elemo, and the management for the transformation they have so far entrenched in the research institute, Damian said, “I’m impressed with I have seen in the institute, especially in the area of human capital development. We will be working with FIIRO to develop more technologies for the agro-sector. Priority would be given to Cassava, Rice, Yam and Sorghum.”
According him, WAAPP is a programme of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is already being implemented in about 13-member countries. He noted that Nigeria has diverse and rich vegetation capable of supporting a heavy population of livestock, adding that country has 267.7 billion metric tonnes of surface water and 57.9 billion metric tonnes of underground water.
He stated that Nigeria is blessed with a reasonably abundant rainfall as well as an extensive coastal sub-region that is very rich in fish and other marine products. “WAAPP-Nigeria as part of Agricultural Transformation of Federal Government of Nigeria and ECOWAS is a multilateral programme with the objective of addressing the challenges of slow agricultural generation and adoption with specific focus on fish, poultry, rice, sorghum, maize, and tubers (Cassave and Yam),” he said.
He added, “To achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the number of hungry people by 50 per cent by 2015, Africa counties will need to make rural development, agriculture, and the removal of livelihood constraints of the rural poor, their topmost priority in their development agenda. This is to raise declining productivity, which has eroded the competitiveness of Africa agricultural products.”
“In domesticating this goal, the Nigerian Agricultural Research System needs to be functional. One way this can be achieved is through the implementation of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP),” he stated.
He stressed that the main objective of WAAPP, is to improve agricultural productivity while promoting regional integration as instruments for promoting shared growth and poverty reduction in West Africa.
“One of the goals of the WAAPP is to encourage integrated development of agricultural research into the Technology Generation Dissemination (TGD) continuum throughout the region. The development objective of WAAPP-Nigeria is to strengthen the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) to contribute to technology development, dissemination and adoption to boost agricultural productivity increases in Nigeria’s top agricultural commodity sub-sectors that are aligned with sub-regional priorities.”
He noted that the priority commodities for the WAAPP which have been derived from a study carried out by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and CORAF/WECARD in 2006 are roots and tubers, lives stock, cereals and aquaculture among others.
Earlier, Dr. Elemo in her address commended the WAAPP National Coordinator, for the approval of some of the proposals for implementation the institute sent to the ECOWAS Agro-Agency, stated that FIIRO, as an institute is delighted to be part of WAAPP’s programme, adding that quite a number of the target areas fall within the institute’s scope and core mandate.
She said, “We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which is intended to activate a stronger partnership in the focused areas of WAAPP-Nigeria.”
The WAAPP coordinator was conducted round the institute, particularly the engineering workshops, cassava processing pilot, and food and analytical laboratories among others.