Professor Kabir Bala, Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said the huge agricultural complex of the university could aggressively transform Nigeria’s economy by making the country a net exporter of agricultural products.
A statement issued on Tuesday by Auwalu Umar, Acting Director, Public Affairs Directorate of the university, said the vice-chancellor made the remarks during the field day for a newly established demonstration farm at Faculty of Agriculture.
The Vice-Chancellor said the complex had all it took to play such role, if relevant researches were conducted for good harvest.
He said apart from the fully fledged faculty of Agriculture, the university also had such specialised institutes with national mandate.
According to the vice-chancellor, the institutes are the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS) and National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI).
Bala also disclosed that arrangements were being put in place to establish an all-embracing research and innovation centre to encourage research effort in the university.
He added that agriculture was one of ABU’s strongest points as a citadel of learning and argued that if other developing nations could get high yield, what stopped Nigeria from achieving same feat given the availability of its fertile lands and resources.
The Vice-Chancellor also announced the intention of his administration to take over the University farms for commercial farming as a way of revenue generation for the University.
Bala who commended the Faculty of Agriculture as well as the specialised agric institutes for organising the field day, said Nigerians must design a solution to their peculiar problems through research and innovation.
The statement reported the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Professor Muktar Mahmud, as saying the demonstration farm was established by the faculty in collaboration with East-West International, a vegetable research firm with headquarters in Thailand.
Mahmud said the collaboration saw the training of 136 extension workers from Kaduna and Kano, saying the East-West International granted a 5,650 dollars scholarship to Nasiru Adda’u, an undergraduate student of the faculty.
Similarly, East-West Seed Manager, Mr David-Godfrey Alechenu, said the company had different sections that included food processing, business and knowledge transfer; adding that the objective of the partnership was to empower farmers.
According to Achelenu, the company had trained over 10,000 farmers in Kaduna State in addition to training agro-dealers who served as link between farmers and the company.