Minister tasks research institutes to commercialise findings
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh has urged agricultural research institutes to intensify their researches and commercialise their findings to realise the Federal Government’s economic blueprint.
Ogbeh who stated this while declaring open the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Abia State, 2017 annual research review, said the institutes need to play key roles in the country, stressing that the role of NRCRI remains critical.
Represented by Dr. Rasak Oyeleye, he said the Federal Government is very much committed to ensuring food security in the country. “Farmers face difficulties in obtaining knowledge and services that could improve their cultivation practices, increase their production outputs, reduce drudgery, reduce post-harvest losses and provide them with access to reliable market and policy information.”
The acting Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof Aah Voh, said in achieving food security and poverty reduction, there is need to increase the productivity of crops, livestock and fisheries, using improved technologies, which he said, is what the agricultural system is primarily mandated to do.
He said if this situation remains, especially within the context of food price shocks, global economic recession and increased climatic and disease challenges, poverty and malnutrition are likely to increase. He enjoined all the review workshop participants to come up with workable recommendations that will improve Nigeria’s agriculture in general and agricultural research in particular.
Presenting the NRCRI annual performance report, the Executive Director, Dr Julius Okonkwo said within the past four and a half years, active research work has been sustained and demand driven technologies developed despite the challenges of low funding and late release of funds.
He said three high Vitamin A Cassava varieties were developed and released to farmers, bringing the total released by NRCRI in collaboration with International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan to six, even as four other White cassava varieties were additionally released.
He noted that two Hybrid yams were also developed and released to farmers in addition to four Yam land races that were registered for research and production.