Professor Adebisi Adebowale, a member of the committee on the repositioning of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), has said that repositioning the Nigerian agricultural sector will contribute greatly in poverty alleviation and food security.
He made this disclosure in an Exclusive Interview with CEOAFRICA, as he speaks on issues in Nigeria’s Agricultural sector, as well as improving agricultural productivity in the country.
Professor Adebowale added that the only panacea to the current economic situation in the country was for government at all levels to rise to the occasion and look for alternative means by exploring the abundant potential in agriculture.
The ARCN, which he is a member of, has a core mandate to coordinate, supervise, monitor and evaluate agricultural research, extension and training in all the national agricultural research institutes and federal colleges of agriculture in Nigeria.
The council also serves as a research manager and offers policy advisory services to the Federal Government of Nigeria on agricultural research and development.
The Professor of Agriculture who was the former Executive Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training(IAR&T), Moor Plantation, Ibadan, Oyo State, and former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Bowen University Governing Council, said, “without Agricultural Research, there won’t be no Agricultural production, and without food security, our economy cannot move.”
According to him, the overall economy of Nigeria depends on Agricultural research, hence the need to reposition the agricultural sector for better productivity.
While speaking on eradicating hunger in the country, Prof. Adebowale disclosed that only when Nigeria stops paying lip service to agriculture, will the economy will improve and hunger end.
“But honestly, year in year out government pays lip service to agriculture. In fact until we get to a stage where productivity increases per animal or per hectare, we are just paying lip service in Agriculture”, he said.
While speaking on the repositioning of the Agricultural sector, Prof. Adebowale said ARCN would ensure sourcing of funds for Agricultural research.
“To position agricultural research, particularly ARCN that is coordinating Agricultural Research and Federal Colleges of Agriculture all over the country in such a way that there will be more input from all these research center,” he said.
The professor explained that the need to bridge the gap between the researcher and farmers in terms of communicating research studies to the public, “is the reason for REFILS(Research Extension Farmers Input Linkage System), a system whereby you link research to extension to farmers and input.”
While charging unemployed youths in the country to embrace the available opportunities in agriculture instead of remaining idle, he called on the government to adequately fund the agricultural sector in order to boost food production and conserve the foreign exchange being spent on importation of foods.
Among other things, he pleaded with the government at all levels to assist farmers with agricultural inputs, giving the necessary support to elevate agriculture and remove drudgeries in Agriculture.
Professor Adebowale admonished youths in the country to shun any form of social vices and instead take agriculture as a serious business.