The Executive-Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Ghana, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, at the weekend in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital disclosed that the use of crude implements such as cutlasses, hoes among others is the major reason why importation of food and other agricultural products are increasing in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
Akinbamijo made this disclosure while delivering a paper, entitled, “New trends in agricultural research for development”, at the closing ceremony of the Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, 50th anniversary, held at the institute hall.
At the event were: Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, a former Governor of Ekiti state, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, ex-staff of the institute and farmers among others.
Akinbamijo while speaking said it was unfortunate that after Nigeria signed various declaration such as the Malapo, Maputo declarations, the country and most African countries are still importing food farther than what they are exporting.
He underscored the need for Africa to engage more in mechanized agriculture to improve food production in the continent, as he urged IAR&T to ensure that farmers benefit from its various research and experiments.
Akinbamijo while stressing the need for the continent to shift into more organized market to create good incentives for producers as well as farmers, however insisted that food production in Africa cannot increase if proper care is not taken to engage in mechanised farming.
According to him, Africans need to harness the potentials of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies based on strong innovation ecosystem that include skills, infrastructure, regulations and policies.
Akinbamijo 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.
Ogunbodede while speaking appealed to South-West governments to support research institutes, such as IAR&T to improve agriculture and food production in the states, Nigeria at large.
He congratulated the management, staff of the institute for the notable achievements it had made despite the dwindling of funds.
IAR&T Executive Director, Professor James Adediran, expressed gratitude to God for granting them a safe, successful anniversary celebration with no casualty.
He added that, “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 was enthusiastic in contributing to the success of the golden jubilee celebration”.