FG PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR FUNAI AGRICULTURAL INITIATIVE
The Federal Government of Nigeria has pledged to support the Agricultural initiative of the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State. This was made known by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe during a 2-day National Agriculture Summit held at the University on 29th and 30th, November, 2016.
Speaking on the theme “The New Face of Agricultural Training in a Declining Oil Based Economy”, Chief Ogbe lauded the Agricultural initiative of the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba in trying to create a production-oriented and business-driven Faculty of Agriculture for the University, stressing the need for people to see Agriculture as a real business with the capacity to create jobs, generate income and foreign exchange earnings for both the citizens and government respectively as well as raw materials for the real sector of the economy.
Represented by the Director of Land and Climate Change in the Ministry, Engr. Sunday Oduma Edibo, the Minister noted that through the Federal Government’s Agricultural Roadmap which was launched in August 2016 and the CBN anchor borrower initiative, government is diversifying the economy through massive investment in Agriculture in order to ensure food security and sufficiency for the populace, create jobs for the teeming youths and reposition the economy to make it resilient. Chief Ogbe further called on the University to carve a niche for itself by embarking on Agro-projects and courses that would have local impact instead of the generalized initiatives of most Nigerian Universities, adding that the Faculty of Agriculture at the University should spearhead the Agricultural revolution of its host state (Ebonyi) taking into cognizance the agro-potential of the state.
Earlier in his address, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nwajiuba advocated the training of the next generation of farmers and Agriculturists to acquire the necessary skills to function as entrepreneurs and employers of labour, adding that the present economic recession calls for sober reflection by all stakeholders and the diversification of our export earnings through Agriculture. The Professor of Agricultural Economists further asserted that the Faculty of Agriculture of the University would be one with a difference, stressing that its activities will also impact positively on the host community and state. He added that the Agricultural activities of the University would be used to improve the lots of the local communities around the University as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility by training local farmers on modern agricultural systems.
The highpoint of the summit was the inauguration of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University and the pledge of the Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. Chief David Umahi to collaborate with the University and other stakeholders for Agricultural Sustainability in the state. The Governor was represented at the event by the Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji.