FG backs establishment of nine federal agricultural, colleges, research institutions

The Federal Government, on Friday, expressed support for the establishment of nine Federal Agricultural Universities, Colleges and Research Institutions initiated by the House of Representatives.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari conveyed the present administration’s consent, during the public hearing of thr nine bills including Federal University of Agriculture Fiditi – Oyo, Oyo State (Establishment) Bill, sponsored by Hon. Akeem Adeyemi; and Federal College of Agriculture Agila, Benue State (Establishment) Bill, sponsored by Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Phillip Agbese as well as a bill to establish the National Institute for Oil Palm Research, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, sponsored by Hon. Joseph Adegbesan.

Three of the Bills seek to amend Federal Universities of Agriculture Act 2010 to establish Federal University of Agriculture in Oyo, Delta and Enugu States, while the remaining six Bills seek to amendment of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Act, 2004 to pave way for the establishment of Agricultural Colleges and Institutes in Benue, Ekiti, Bauchi, Delta, Nasarawa and Ogun States, respectively.

The Minister who was represented by Director Planning & Policy Coordination and Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Professor Garba Shambutu however decried the unabated crisis trailing the land donated by various host communities several years after the establishment of various Agricultural Institutions.

He however threatened that plans are underway to relocate most of the affected Institutions to more peaceful locations, just as he warned against the undue resistance against thr appointment of people from various states of the Federation.

In his keynote address, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Benjamin Kalu reiterated the present administration’s commitment towards diversification of the economy and food security.

According to him, “To fast-track the Federal Government’s drive for food security, modern and mechanized farming and diversification of the economy the need for more specialized agricultural institutions that are innovative and research-based has become imperative.

“This understanding informed the listing of agricultural reforms in the 10th House’s Legislative Agenda to address the nation’s high cost of food items.

“We believe that if these Bills are well processed with robust inputs from you, they would strengthen the nation’s quest for food sufficiency and socio-economic development of our country,” the Speaker noted.

In his address, Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi averred that the “establishment of these Institutions aligned with the government’s agenda to diversify the economy and promote self-sufficiency in food production.

“These institutions will not only equip our youths with the necessary skills and knowledge but will also bridge the gap between traditional farming methods and modern technologies, it will also serve as a catalyst for innovation, technology transfer, and collaboration among academia, industry, and government agencies.

“It will help to provide the necessary manpower, extension agents and specialists to boost food security in Nigeria; it will also allow young Nigerians access to basic knowledge, skills and emerging techniques in agricultural production value chains etc.”

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In his presentation, Hon. Phillip Agbese who described Agila as peaceful community, talented that the area which is known as food nerve of the country is underdeveloped.

While noting that the establishment of Federal College of Agriculture in Avila will bring federal presence to the community and impact positively on the food production and security of the country.

He added that: “Each time you hear Be ue as the food basket of the nation, it is actually very true, but it is most appropriate to say that the food that we produce in Benue that made Benue the food basket of the nation comes from my Constituency.”

Hon. Agbese maintained that some of the Research Institutes under Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria have “traveled to Agila to get improved crops.

“Most of the foods you have in Nigeria were taken from Agila. And I believe an Institute of this magnitude will only help modern day Nigeria so that what we have been doing for the country, we can continue to sustain it, continue to feed the nation and in turn we will also benefit something from Nigeria.”

In his remarks, Hon. Joseph Adegbesan affirmed that Ijebu-Igbo is known for palm oil production, said: “I’m surprised when the Executive Secretary was talking he said that Ijebu-Igbo and ijebu-Ode are nowhere to be found when they are talking of oil palm production. Thanks to Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the blessed memory.

“He established farm settlements when he was the Premier of Western region. He established farm settlements across old western region then, of which Alone farm is one of them. Akoje farm is 80,000 hectares of land of which largest chunk of it was used for the production of oil palm, it’s still there till today,” he noted.



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