Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has urged agricultural research institutes in the country to employ the best of science to produce world-class crop yields for Nigerian farmers.
Governor Bagudu, who stated this in Birnin Kebbi when he received Professor Mohammed Faguji Ishiyaku, the Director of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Kaduna State, said that there was the urgent need for the institutes to shape up so that Nigerian farmers can produce adequate food for both subsistence and export.
“By doing that, Nigerian crop yields would be on par with those from other countries, especially the developed countries where agriculture is heavily subsidised and research is prioritised,” the governor statted.
“We have to empower our farmers to compete favourably with their contemporaries across the globe, bolster employment generation and boost the revenue base of the nation, with nearly 200 million citizens to feed.”
Governor Bagudu said President Muhammadu Buhari has provided the needed political will and leadership in this direction.
He lamented that Nigeria was still lagging behind in terms of harnessing her full agricultural potential, stating that “this is a formidable challenge you have to urgently deal with.
“There should be more efficacious and mutual collaboration between research and practice, as well as between research and policy.”
He extolled the IAR for its sustained determination to come to the aid of Nigerian farmers despite its myriad of daunting challenges.
He also expressed the willingness of his administration to collaborate with the Institute for the development of agriculture at the state and national levels.
Earlier, the IAR Director commended the governor for his efforts in increasing rice production in Kebbi State which, according to him, has yielded millions of naira to the people of Kebbi and Nigeria.
Prof Ishiyaku said he was in Kebbi to brief the governor on the activities of the institute as it relates to agriculture and research as well to seek for collaboration with the state.
“After taking over the leadership of IAR, I’m attracted by what I saw in the state, so I decided to come to Kebbi for collaboration,” he said.
“I come to share what IAR has in place and make suggestions to the governor who is the Vice-Chairman of the National Food Security Committee in the country.”
He further explained that the institute has evolved from a colonial-oriented agricultural research institute to an institute that is focused primarily in harnessing of the country’s natural resources for good management, improved food and nutrition, sustainable poverty reduction, improved crop varieties with high productivity potential for utilisation, among others goals.
He added that the partnership between Kebbi State Government and Institute for Agricultural Research would address the issue of sustained agricultural development, support crop production and also assist farmers in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.