IITA, AE-FUNAI PARTNERSHIP ON AGRIC DEVELOPMENT: FACULTY OF AGRIC HOLDS SEMINAR TO SENSITIVE STAFF
In furtherance of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Oyo State to partner on Research and Agricultural development, the Faculty of Agriculture of the university recently organized a one day seminar to sensitive and prepare staff on the eventual take-off the partnership.
Entitled: “Measuring Adaptation and Impact of Improved Cassava varieties in Nigeria”, the seminar availed participants with the opportunity to garner firsthand information on the benefits of improved cassava varieties in ensuring food security and tackling hunger in Nigeria, especially in the southeast geopolitical zone of the country. The University, through the MoU signed with IITA would be the Centre for research and distribution of the Improved Cassava Varieties in the Southeast zone of the country. The Improved Cassava Varieties is a recent agricultural research development of IITA meant to improve the nutritional composition of cassava, and thereby help in tackling hidden hunger in Nigeria.
Declaring the seminar open, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, who was represented by the Director of Academic Planning, Professor Dr. Johnny Ogunji, said the university was a research-based institution and is geared towards becoming a hub for world-class research activities, hence the series of seminars being organized to provide solutions to most of the economic problems facing the country.
The guest lecturer and a Senior Agricultural Economist at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Dr Tahirou Abdoulaye, whose research interests cover a wide range of rural economic issues which include seed system, farm-level efficiency, technology evaluation and transfer while presenting his paper noted the importance of improved cassava varieties in the provision of food security in Nigeria.
He also stressed the need for farmers to focus on innovative systems in order to excel profitably in their activities, adding that increase in the use of technology by small farmers was the way to go if the country is to have sustainable food security.
Earlier in her opening speech, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Dr. Tina Igberi described the seminar as timely, which has come at the time the University is itching for international recognition through its academic and research works. She thanked the management for the partnership between the university and IITA, stating that it has given the participants the opportunity to interact with international scholars and widen their agricultural horizon.