An agricultural expert, has disclosed that Nigeria’s agriculture research sector loses about $100 million annually to its inability to attract grants from local and foreign foundations and organisations.
Specifically, the Executive Director of the Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) Ilorin, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni stated this at the opening of a week-long workshop on grantsmanship for agricultural research officers by the institute in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Oladunni pointed out the need for agriculture research to improve food production, reduce food shortages and poverty as well to create jobs.
He said, “Based on the background that some of the commodities such as crops, livestock, fisheries or even agro-forestry are already being produced in the country, but the quantum of our production is far below international output.
“Nigeria is not losing anything below$100 million every year due to inability to attract both local and foreign grants. When you extend this and look at the value chain for research, there are lots to gain by research scientists among other actors along the research value chain that are losing this opportunity.
“For instance, in soyabean production, the highest you can have as output per hectare today is 1.3 tonnes as against 10 tonnes per hectare in some other climes.
“You can see the enormity of what we’re saying. It’s not just in style of production, but varieties being planted. And that’s where research comes in. Research must be able to make production high yielding.
“We need to improve the tonnes of food we produce in this country to reduce food shortages and poverty and increase employment within the system. It’s only when you have the right varieties of commodities cutting across livestock, fisheries and crop production that you can get some of these things done.
“That’s the essence of having research institutes and faculties of agriculture in our tertiary institution because agriculture research is not meant for research institutes alone. Every participant is supposed to be involved,” Oladunni added.
The ARMTI boss, therefore, called on higher institutes to contribute to the development of skills, knowledge and research competence of the nation.