The Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan has commissioned a standard organic market as part of activities marking the 101st anniversary of the college.
A set of auto-irrigated screenhouses, Information and Communications Technology building, audio-visual building, classrooms (6 units) and an office complex newly constructed by the current administration and ready for use were also commissioned.
Commissioning the market, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, who was represented by the Southwest Zonal Director of the ministry, Mrs. Omolara Abimbola-Oguntuyi, pointed out the importance of organic produce to include sound health, long shelf life and excellent organoleptic perception, encouraging the Moor community to maximise the opportunity of the market. She appreciated the permanent secretary and Minister on their efforts towards the growth and development of the FCA, Ibadan and other institutions in the ministry. She commended the college on it rapid, geometric growth in the last 3 to 4 years, adding that with the rate of development evident in the college, the school will soon metamorphose into a university. She therefore solicited the support of staff and students of the college towards a continued growth.
The college Provost, Dr. E. O. Augustus, reiterated that establishing the organic market became imperative to create a means by which the public can regularly access organic products generated in the FCA, Ibadan organic farm, which is premised on the interest of her administration.
Augustus appreciated the support of Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOAI) Nigeria, in making the market possible.
On the anniversary, she said it was a celebration of 101 years of producing well trained agricultural manpower; providing solutions to Nigeria’s agricultural challenges through excellent extension services, as well as offering short courses and training programmes, targeted at boosting the competencies of Nigeria’s agricultural personnel and providing excellent services in all areas of agriculture, towards national growth and wellbeing.
She added that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development envisions to ensure food security in crops, livestock and fisheries, stimulate agricultural employment and services, promote the production and supply of raw materials to agro industries and aid rural socio-economic development.
In his remarks, Country Coordinator of the EOAI Nigeria, Dr. Olugbenga O. AdeOluwa highlighted the benefits of organic agriculture market. He introduced the meaning and purpose of organic agriculture towards national health and wellbeing.
AdeOluwa lauded the contribution of the College to the development of Organic Agriculture in Nigeria, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for supporting the organic market at the college, through Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT), as well as the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria and the Ibadan Go Organic. He added that FCA, Ibadan organic market will provide opportunities for both academic training and community development activities.
Earlier, the college provost, Dr Augustus noted that FCA, Ibadan has keyed into and committed to pivotal roles towards actualization of its aim through five (5) strategic and accelerated repositioning steps: Training; Crop and Animal Production; Research and Development; Fabrication of Farm Input or Processing Equipment and the Execution of Staff, Students and Community Welfare Projects.
While the college requests more input from the Ministry, National Agricultural Development Fund (NADF) will no doubt, further assist towards achieving the Institution’s goals and mandate in the field of Agriculture, she added.
The Provost equally mentioned that the College has intensively invested in the provision, repair and renovation of equipment and facilities. These include Laboratory and workshop equipment, ongoing construction of 1000 seater lecture theatre, renovation of College auditorium and classrooms, Departmentalization of the College, restructure of College Health Centre, provision of alternative power supply to aid in teaching, learning and research activities, as well as investment in various laudable projects aimed at further developing the College and improving her academic scope.
Since her Centenary Anniversary in the year 2021, the College has improved on her reach and agricultural skill dissemination within the south-western States of Nigeria. In addition to training programmes executed by the College at her main campus in Ibadan, the institution also recently established agricultural outreach centers at Okaka, Oyo North and Aagba town (Ikirun, Osun State). The college management is equally proposing the establishment of new impactful outreach centers at Ogbomoso, as well as Ido in Oyo State, while remedial courses are also run at these centers to increase the scope of academics at these locations and prepare candidates for the College’s various NBTE accredited courses.
The latest contributions in the direction of academic expansion are the College’s intensified efforts towards organic agriculture and provision of screenhouses to enhance research investigations. Organic Agriculture is currently gaining prominence in Africa, this is not unconnected to the rising cases of health defects associated with the consumption of crops produced with chemical input. Consequently, the College has established an organic farm for the production of crops without chemical input; making the Federal College of Ibadan one of the very best in this field of practice.
The Provost also seized the opportunity to appreciate the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar; the Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe; the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu; Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Bima Muhammad Enaji; the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Munir Babba Dan Agundi and everyone involved in the actualization of the 2022 ACT, establishing the National Agricultural Development Fund (NADF) for colleges of agriculture, research institutes and related disciplines.
Augustus appreciated the honourable retirees of the college, alumni, students, staff and collaborators of the Institution and also enjoined them to keep the sincere, effectual efforts and contributions towards the growth and development of the college aglow.
A former provost of the college, Dr. Thomas Adelanke Adegbulugbe, also commended the management, staff and students of the college for a job well done over the years. He encouraged staff members not to relent on the good works and also envisioned that the college is destined for great heights. The college alumni chairman, duly represented by Dr. A. S. Amusat, gave an account of how the foundation FCA, Ibadan laid for him in academics helped him to build a sound career in agriculture. He emphasised on the capacity of the college to breed intellectuals that could effectively tackle the problems of food insecurity in the nation, pledging the union’s support towards the growth of FCA, Ibadan.