The University of Calabar (UNICAL) is seeking a N1.2 billion credit facility to revamp its ailing farm.
Until it succumbed to neglect, the institution’s farm used to be a hub of agro-business activities. Today, it regrettably boasts of only a few animals and birds in dilapidated structures.
“We are in the process of getting funds from commercial banks. We have been talking with them. We have gone far and the Vice Chancellor is very much in support. You need money to rehabilitate the feed mill and these structures. We hope that very soon, we will be able to draw the loans,” said Professor Augustine Ogogo.
The Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Wild Life Resources Management added: “We are looking at N1.2 billion to invest here, so that we can really produce, and our students would learn modern methods of farming. And we will be able to generate revenue for the university, to cushion the effect of shortfall and lack of overheads from the Federal Government.”
Ogogo, at the weekend, disclosed that seven years ago there had been intense agricultural activity. But “for long not much has been happening”. He however stressed, “right now, a lot of renovations are going on. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Zana Itiunbe Akpagu, has approved the renovation of some of these blocks. We hope that with time all these blocks will be renovated and stocked with various animals and the farm will come alive.”
The dean, who conducted some journalists round the university farm, said: “For any farm to be viable, it has to be big, so that it can break even. There is what you call economics of scale. Even if you are picking one naira per bird and you have millions of birds, you will be making millions. Poultry alone has more than six blocks and we can stock millions of birds here.
So, we can flood the market with eggs and table birds and the entire Cross River would be coming here to buy all year round.”