Why we ask research institutes to establish technology outreach centres

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The Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Alhaji  Saidu Abubakar Madagwa, has explained why it was necessary to decentralise the research outreach centres in the country.

Speaking to Daily Trust on Sunday at a two-day workshop on change management with the theme: Nigeria Economic Growth: Human Capital Development Through Change Management in the Agricultural Sector, in Abuja, he said the council was strengthening the system in Nigeria.

“We have decentralised research outreach and demonstration centres. We have given all the research institutes and colleges to establish outreach centres. So we have very few here in Abuja to demonstrate and see what actually they do there. We have one in Karshi and we vaccinate their animals, provide them with some of animal drugs and so on…and then we see the rate at which they adopt the new technology.

“But essentially, what happens is that when we interact with these communities, we now know their exact problems; whether in terms of crops or animals – we want to know their actual problems and then if they are technology-related we try at our level, and then if they are fund-related, we will talk to government; and thank God government, through its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) has been financing registered farmers across the nation,” he said.

Speaking further, Alhaji Madagwa said ARCN’s basic role was coordinating and supervising research institutes in Nigeria.

The research institutes generate technology on various crops which are presented to government as a policy document that can be implemented.

Madagawa further noted that since the coming of the present administration, the emphasis had been on agriculture, adding that “they have been giving us, and when I say us, I mean we and the research institutes, they have been giving us maximum support to carry out our duties, and that we are doing.”

However, the Madagwa did not see low budgetary allocation as a problem, but the release of what is budgeted as the main issue.

“Actually, it’s not the budgetary allocation that is short, but it’s the release. The budgetary allocation to all the research institutes and colleges is good enough if the releases can be made 100 per cent. But the point is that when the government is talking about lack of funds because we have just come out of recession and then the little release that is given to all the research institutes and colleges, we use it to perform to the best of our ability.  We have to prioritise, especially when there is a shortage of funds; we have to look at which area requires urgent attention in terms of research, then we carry out the research.

Dr. Azik-Rullahi, Director of Amzik Integrated Limited, which powered the event, said the organisation was building the capacity of management staff for better performance.

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