Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President African Development Bank (AfDB) has advised the federal government to develop an integrated agricultural value chain and make Nigeria more competitive in the food and agriculture industry.
He gave the advice in his acceptance speech after he was conferred a Doctorate Degree in Agricultural Science, Honoris Causa, of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) during the 27th Convocation ceremony of the University.
He said that agriculture remained the most important profession and business in the world, which must be supported to alleviate the challenge of food insecurity in the world.
Adesina said that Africa is already blessed to be the food basket of the world in the foreseeable future and that indeed Nigeria should do more to capture the advantage bestowed on it by nature, by fully going into mechanised food production.
The world renowned Agricultural Economist said that he tried his best as a Minister under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to put Nigeria on the path to agriculture, especially Rice Revolution during that government.
He explained further that today the Muhammadu Buhari government was indeed having a breakthrough in that direction with the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Adesina commended the Vice Chancellor of FUNAAB, Professor Kolawole Salako, for keeping the flag flying as leader in Agricultural Based Institution in Nigeria, aiming at being a sustainable food basket.
He noted with satisfaction that FUNAAB had been consistent in having a best management as an agricultural training institution and this had stood it out of its contemporaries.
Mohammed Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, highlighted the efforts of the Federal Government at improving the agriculture sector and reducing the nation’s overdependence on oil by adopting agriculture as the country’s economy mainstay through diversification.
The Minister observed that agricultural production was facing many challenges in the nation such as inadequate mechanisation, and the relegation of research and development to the background, saying “our research and development have been relegated, but we can develop agricultural research and make it fundamental in the interest of the country,”
Dr. Aboki Zhawa, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council assured the Visitor that the Council would continue to key into the President’s mission of the fight against corruption; promoting mechanisation and modernisation of agriculture; and subscribing to the provision of quality education.
He pleaded with the Minister of Agriculture to immediately restore Management Science Courses of the institution, stressing that the advantages of running Management Science Courses in an Agricultural based institution, could never be overestimated, pointing out that they were closely related.
He also appreciated the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, for providing security in the Alabata Axis of Abeokuta, which situates the FUNAAB.
He said the Federal Government would ever be grateful to the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and his people for donating 10,000 hectares of land to FUNAAB as well as providing conducive atmosphere for the institution to operate happily.
The Vice-Chancellor admonished the graduates to uphold FUNAAB’s core values of academic and moral excellence in their endeavours, as such attributes would distinguish them among their peers, as good ambassadors of the University.