The use of crude implements such as cutlasses, hoes among others, is the major reason for the increase in importation of food and other agricultural products in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
The Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, FARA, Ghana, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, made this assertion.
He was delivering a paper entitled, “New Trends in Agricultural Research for Development” at the closing ceremony of the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), Ibadan.
Akinbamijo said it was unfortunate that after Nigeria and other countries in the continent signed various declarations such as the Malabo, Maputo, the country and most African countries were still importing food farther than what they were exporting.
He underscored the need for Africa to engage more in mechanized agriculture to improve food production in the continent, urging IAR&T to ensure that farmers benefitted from its various research and experiments.
While stressing the need for the continent to shift into more organised market to create good incentives for producers as well as farmers, he however insisted that food production in Africa could not increase if proper care was not taken to engage in mechanised farming.
He said Africans needed to harness the potentials of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies based on strong innovation ecosystem that included skills, infrastructure, regulations and policies.
He further underscored the need for new partnerships, funding mechanisms as well as frameworks for financing Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) in Africa.
“It is not rocket science that we are eating chicken from Netherland. I feel it is a pathetic situation here. I recalled in 2003 this country hosted three conferences on agriculture and food but up till today, the country is still struggling to bridge the gap.
“We need new approaches to move forward, if we continue business as usual, no country will meet the Malabo declaration of doubling agricultural productivity by 2025.
“So, righting this wrong is a task before IAR&T and other research institutes. FARA is the apex agricultural body in Africa. In 2003, Heads of States/Governments made a declaration that should keep Africa. So, Africa missed out from Maputo in 2003, and quickly what we did, we ran to Malabo in 2014,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU VC, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, called on South-West governments to support research institutes such as IAR&T to improve agriculture and food production in the states and Nigeria at large while lauding the management and staff of the institute for the notable achievements it had made despite dwindling of funds.
The Executive Director of the institute, Prof. James Adediran, expressed gratitude to God for granting them a safe, successful anniversary celebration with no casualty.
He said, “I am amazed of the spirit with which the whole staff joined hands to celebrate every day, moment; the road show was well attended, participatory and exciting.
“The sporting activities were well organized, the opening ceremony was a class, honorable, dignifying, the lectures were comprehensive, educative; the proceedings of the donor agency forum were encouraging, fruitful. It gladdens my heart that every participant in these events were enthusiastic in contributing to the success of the golden jubilee celebration.”
Also present at the occasion among others were the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, and a former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.