ARMTI calls on scientists to explore agricultural research grants — Articles — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
Nigeria’s agricultural research sector loses an estimated $100 million every year due to its inability to attract grants from local and foreign grant-making foundations and organizations.
Speaking at the opening of a week-long training workshop for agricultural research officers organized by the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) Ilorin, Kwara State on Tuesday, The institute’s executive director, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, said the country needed the research to improve its food production, reduce food shortages and poverty, as well as create employment.
The ARMTI boss said that the institute believes it is necessary to contribute to the development of the skills, knowledge and research skills of the country’s scientists “to lead them to develop more varieties, of better quality and yielding crops to improve food security in Nigeria.
“Some of the basic products, such as crops, livestock, fisheries or even agroforestry, are already produced in the country, but the quantum of our production is much lower than international productions.
“Nigeria loses nothing below $100 million in grants every year due to its inability to attract both local and foreign grants. And you know what it can do in the agricultural research system. When you expand that and look at the research value chain, there is a lot to be gained for scientific researchers, among other actors, all along the research value chains.
“For example, in soybean production, the highest production you can have per hectare today is 1.3 tonnes, compared to 10 tonnes per hectare in other climates. You can see the enormity of what we say. It’s not just in the style of production, but in the varieties planted. And that’s where research comes in. Research must be capable of increasing production.
“We need to improve the tons of food we produce in this country to reduce food shortages and poverty and increase employment within the system. Only when you have the right varieties of products covering farming, fishing, and agricultural production can you do some of these things.
“It is the essence of having research institutes and faculties of agriculture in our higher education institutions, because agricultural research is not for institutes only. Every participant is expected to be involved.
“Getting funds is not something government can do alone. There are foundations everywhere, even outside of Nigeria, that are willing to give funds to advance these things, but we don’t get them because we don’t have fundable research proposals.
“Therefore, ARMTI is helping to develop the skills, knowledge and research skills of our scientists so that they can develop more, better and high yielding varieties to improve food security in Nigeria.
Dr Oladunni who said that 50 participants in the training program have been drawn from research institutes in the country added that “almost all research institutes in the country are represented and faculties of agriculture around us and at outside here including our own staff are involved.”
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Dr Ishaku Leo Elisha from Vom, Plateau State said they would collaborate through networks among themselves to disseminate the knowledge gained during the program to make the training valid.