As part of efforts towards making Nigeria a knowledge economy and attaining food sufficiency, the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro has called on the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) of Obafemi Awolowo University sited in Ibadan, to develop a new focus of conducting “problem-solving and nation-fixing multidisciplinary research that responds to national aspiration with forex earning potentials”.
Prof. Bogoro made the call while delivering a paper titled Research for Development in Agriculture Sector: The Role of Research Institutes in Innovative Value Chain Transformation at the first annual lecture of IAR&T held in Ibadan recently.
He stated that multi-commodity value chain agricultural research institutes such as IAR&T have some responsibilities to lead value added, innovative and transformative research in top food and cash crops in collaboration with other relevant institutes across the country.
According to the Executive Secretary, IAR&T could attain global competitiveness through focus on the institutionalization of R&D in the agricultural sector of the economy, by leading the implementation of the recommendations of global, continental, regional and national development requirements.
“The core mandates of Research and Training of IAR&T should be leveraged to lead Nigeria’s agricultural sector towards becoming the pivotal sector of the new knowledge economy.
“It is worthy of note that the traditional outputs of agricultural activities include food for humans, feed for animals, raw materials for industries, job/income for the citizens and revenue for government. The rejuvenation of these outputs using R&D tools will reposition IAR&T as a national and global reference institute,” he said.
Prof. Bogoro called for a more robust relationship between Obafemi Awolowo University, IAR&T and the Department of Agriculture of the university for greater efficiency.
Speaking at the event, the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede expressed appreciation to Prof. Bogoro for accepting the invitation of IAR&T to deliver its first annual lecture, adding that his acceptance has placed the annual lecture series on a sound foundation, raising the bar very high for subsequent lectures.
In her welcome remarks, the Director of IAR&T, Prof. Veronica Obatolu stated that “It is not an overstatement to note that the desire for the diversification of our national economy away from mono-product economy based on oil can only be achieved through research-driven value chain development in agriculture.
“That is why IAR&T is delighted and immensely proud to initiate an annual lecture like this and the first of its kind to be given by no other person than Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, who has been playing a significant role in recognizing and promoting research and development in our research and training system towards the socio-economic development of our nation state”
Present at the event were former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; Chairman of TETFund’s National Research Fund Screening and Monitoring Committee, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro; Director R&D and Centres of Excellence TETFund, Dr. Salihu Girei Bakari; Technical Assistant to the Executive Secretary on R&D, Dr. Mustapha Ayo Popoola among others.