Engage In Mechanized Agriculture To Improve Food Production In Africa – FARA Executive Director

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Guests at the closing ceremony of the Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, 50th anniversary.

By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan

The Executive-Director,  Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Ghana, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo at the weekend asked Africa countries to engage more in mechanized agriculture to improve food production in the continent,

Dr Akinbamijo gave the advice  in Ibadan while delivering a  paper, entitled, “New trends in agricultural research for development”, at the weekend at the closing ceremony of the Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, 50th anniversary.

According to Dr Akinbamijo
the use of crude implements like the cutlasses, hoes among others are the major reason for increasing importation of food and other agricultural products in Africa and Nigeria in particular.

The FARA Executive Director lamented that it was unfortunate that after Nigeria signed the Malapo, Maputo declarations, the country and most African countries are still exporting food more than what they are exporting.

Dr Akinbamijo stressed that if Africa countries could engage more in mechanized agriculture, apart from improving food production in the continent, the  farmers on their part would benefit  from its various research and experiments.

“We need new approaches to move forward, if we continue business as usual, no country will meet the Malabo declaration of doubling agricultural productivity by 2025. So, righting this wrong is a task before IAR&T and other research institutes. FARA is the apex agricultural body in Africa. In 2003, Heads of States/ Governments made a declaration that should keep Africa. So, Africa missed out from Maputo in 2003, and quickly what we did, we ran to Malabo in 2014.” he said.

Speaking further, he pointed out that there is the need for  the entire Africa
the continent to shift into more organized market to create good incentives for producers as well as farmers, saying, food production in Africa cannot increase if proper care is not taken to engage in mechanised farming.

Emphasizing that Africans need to harness the potentials of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies based on strong innovation ecosystem including skills, infrastructure, regulations and policies, Dr Akinbamijo said there is also  the need for  funding mechanisms as well as frameworks for financing Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) in Africa.

“It is not rocket science that we are eating chicken from Netherland. I feel it is a pathetic situation here. I recalled in 2003 this country hosted three conferences on agriculture and food but up till today, the country is still struggling to bridge the gap.

Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede in his remarks called on the South-West governments to support research institutes, such as IAR&T to improve agriculture and food production in the states, Nigeria at large.

IAR&T Executive Director, Professor James Adediran while speaking lauded the cooperation and support of all staff of the Institute for a   successful anniversary celebration, saying, “I am amazed of the spirit with which the whole staff joined hands to celebrate every day, moment; the road show was well attended, participatory and exciting.

“The sporting activities were well organized, the opening ceremony was a class, honorable, dignifying, the lectures were comprehensive, educative, the proceedings of the donor agency forum were encouraging, fruitful. It gladdens my heart that every participant in these events was enthusiastic in contributing to the success of the golden jubilee celebration”.

The closing ceremony was witnessed by the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, a former Governor of Ekiti state, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, ex-staff of the institute and farmers among others.

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