Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
The Federal Government has been asked to provide adequate funding and create the enabling environment for scientists in specialised universities, most especially in the area of agriculture, in order to enable them to engage in more researches to ensure food security.
The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Prof. Kolawole Salako, said this in his opening remarks at the Cassava Adding Value for Africa (CAVA 2, Nigeria) special session during the 42nd conference and annual general meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology.
It held inside the auditorium of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Salako, who spoke in view of the fact that the CAVA project would be rounding off in March next year, said the varsities and the country had the human resources and capacity to drive projects aimed at boosting food production.
He said, “We have scientists in the varsities who are working hard and breaking new grounds in the area of agriculture and other areas.
“In the Federal University of Agriculture, we have some of them. You remember our ‘FUNAAB Alpha’, the special hybrid chickens developed in the institution.
“The Federal Government needs to create the enabling environment for our scientists to operate. The Cassava Adding Value for Africa project will be rounding off March next year. It is being sponsored by a foreign donor.
“Must we continue to depend on foreign donors to feed ourselves? The Federal Government should provide adequate funding and create the enabling environment for scientists in specialised universities, most especially in the area of agriculture, in order to enable them to engage in more researches to boost food production.”
On his own part, the Director, Global Cassava Partnerships for the 21st Century, Prof. Malachy Akoroda, called for an African Cassava alliance, in which African countries would come together and promote cassava production.
He noted that since former President Olusegun Obasanjo vacated the leadership of the African Union, there was no one to push the case of cassava production any more.