News Published in March 2016
Increasing ambient temperature is capable of bringing about low Voluntary Feed Intake (VFI), depressed weight gain, low lactation yield, increased disease incidence, as well as depressed fertility, while decreasing precipitation in the Sahel is likely to lead to a decline in pasture yield, reduced water availability and increased livestock mortalities. This was the submission of a retired don in the University’s Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Professor Olusegun Osinowo, in a joint paper presentation with Dr. Monsuru Abioja, an Environmental Physiologist in the Department of Animal Physiology of FUNAAB, during the 41st Annual Conference of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production (NSAP), hosted by the University and themed, “New Technologies for Enhanced Animal Production in Nigeria”.
Professor Osinowo, who with Dr. Abioja, delivered a plenary session at the occasion titled, “Mitigating the Effects of Global Climate Change on Animal Production in Nigeria”, in line with the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), described climate change as an alteration in the state of the climate that could be identified, using statistical tests, through changes in the mean or the variability of its properties that could persist for an extended period, typically for decades or longer. He noted that it also refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. He stated further that climate change leads to unequivocal and persistent rise in global temperature, sea level and fall in northern hemisphere snow cover, adding that climate change also arises from global warming, adding that the drivers of climate change are Greenhouse gases and Aerosols.
They, however, stressed the effects that climatic change can have on animal productivity, saying that when climatic conditions go beyond the comfort zone of livestock, reduced growth rate, prolonged time to reach puberty, low milk yield per lactation, reduced fertility, depressed libido in male and reduced length of oestrus in female animals result. Others are slow return to oestrus and conception after weaning, increased embryonic mortality, reduced feed utilization and increased morbidity and mortality. They further highlighted the mitigation process to be observed to avert the intensity of climatic change to include, biogas production, breeding for low-CH4 emission and heat-tolerant animals, as well as feed/nutrient manipulations.
Speaking at the event, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, recalled that in 1998, NSAP held its Silver Anniversary Conference alongside the Inaugural Conference of the West African Society for Animal Production in Abeokuta. Professor Oyewole lauded the Society for promoting all aspects of animal production by providing a forum for discussing scientific, social and editorial problems relating to the development of animal production in Nigeria. Emphasising the greatness of the University as the Best University of Agriculture in Nigeria, the Vice-Chancellor said FUNAAB is a World Bank Centre of Excellence in Agriculture, adding that “We are proud to say this many times and I would repeat again, this University is proud to note that we have the highest number of animal scientists in the Nigerian University system and it is, therefore, not surprising that FUNAAB was designated as a Centre of Excellence in Animal Breeding and Genetics by the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS)”.
The Vice-Chancellor, who is also the President, Association of African Universities (AAU), noted the importance and timeliness of the theme for the conference, which took into consideration, the various challenges facing animal production in Nigeria. He disclosed that the challenges include shortage of feed supplies, inadequate breeding programmes for all classes of livestock and inadequate pasture breeding programmes resulting in over-reliance on natural pastures. Others are: wastages arising from diseases and pest infestation, lack of adequate use of artificial insemination, inconsistent national policy on animal production and related areas, saying further that if these challenges were addressed, they would go a long way in enhancing animal production in Nigeria.
The President of NSAP, Professor Chryss Onwuka, said the theme of the conference was guided by the Society’s need to be up-to-date as well as use the recent advances in the field to increase productivity. Professor Chryss Onwuka, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of FUNAAB, regretted that food was disappearing from the tables by the day, adding that the purchasing power was also dwindling in a dollar denominated Nigerian economy. He, however, made a clarion call for the Society to pull its resources and efforts together to rebuild the nation’s livestock industry for a more sustainable development. He further stated that, “increased livestock production in Nigeria is still hampered by low level of technical input, poor capacity utilisation, low investment, as well as high production cost, high cost of credit, inflation, among other factors. Professor Onwuka hoped that the outcome of the conference would enhance the available technologies for livestock production, as well as transform the lives of Nigerians that depend on the livestock sector. He noted that the journey towards food self-sufficiency in Nigeria required committed contributions from everyone.
Delivering his keynote address, the immediate past Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Professor Suleiman Bogoro, noted the pivotal role livestock played in contributing to the security of lives of the poor, saying that the consumption of animal products in developing countries was low. According to him, “while people in developed countries obtain on average 27 per cent of their energy and 56 per cent of their protein from animal products, people in developing countries obtain only 11 and 26 per cent, respectively”. He added that the analysis of trends in consumption levels predict rapid growth of 2.8 and 3.3 per cent annually up till 2020, for meat and milk in the developing countries.
Bogoro, a Professor of Animal Science at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, said these identified efforts needed to be backed-up with the necessary awareness and campaigns, stressing that the School Milk Programme, supported by a number of governments, non-governmental and multilateral development agencies, was one of such initiatives because the programme was aimed at building a milk-drinking culture among the future generations. Professor Bogoro recommended that what was needed was more investment in livestock research and development from the standpoint of pro-poor and agribusiness, adding that massive development of grazing reserves to settle itinerant livestock owners in areas, where there would be minimal conflict with land owners, should be encouraged. He further stated the imperative of aggressive investment into the development of dairy and beef industries as well as the need for the strengthening of pasture production, as a national policy, by supporting all categories of domestic ruminant animal farmers. He added that government should view agriculture both as a business and as a developmental programme by creating incentives for prospective producers.
Highpoint of the ceremony was the decoration of two of the Society’s distinguished Professors, namely: Christian Ikeobi, the immediate past Dean, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM) of FUNAAB and Barinene Fakae, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt, with the highest honour of the Society, which is the Fellowship of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production (FNSAP), as the 32nd and 33rd Fellows. Dignitaries present at the event included a former Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Professor Israel Adu; the immediate past President of NSAP, Professor Udo Herbert; the Vice-Chancellor, Mcpherson University, Professor Adeniyi Agunbiade; and another plenary speaker, Chief (Dr.) Simeon Owhofa, Managing Director, Nutrivitas Nigeria Limited, who delivered a lecture titled, “Enhancing Animal Production and Food Security in Nigeria”.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, has encouraged physically-challenged students not to see their condition as a barrier to being successful in life, but rather look up to God as a source of inspiration and be focused. Speaking at a Talent Exhibition and Fund Raising, organised by the National Association of Physically-Challenged Students (NAPCS), FUNAAB Chapter, the Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele made reference to one of the University graduands, Mr. Tayo Jubril, a physically-challenged person, who graduated from the Department of Chemistry with a Second Class (Upper Division) degree. The Vice-Chancellor added that the student went through a skill acquisition programme on soap making in the University prior to his graduation and now was doing very well, saying his life was worthy of emulation.
Delivering a sermon at the event, the Presiding Priest, Abigail Ajibola Anglican Church, Camp, Venerable Charles Fakiyesi, stated that everything God made was good, saying rhetorically that what mattered in life was how one reacts to any situation that one finds himself/herself, but not the world itself. He recalled the life and times of Steve Wonder, an ace instrumentalist, who was born blind, but was able to overcome the challenge and became very successful in life. Venerable Fakiyesi noted the hit song, “We are the World”, led by Michael Jackson and Steve Wonder, was an evergreen, saying that without him (Steve Wonder), the song would not have been that successful. He, therefore, charged the physically-challenged students to be confident and believe that there is ability in disability, because they were all wonderfully-made.
Corroborating Venerable Fakiyesi, the Director, Academic Planning of FUNAAB, Professor Olukayode Akinyemi, declared that, “Your tomorrow is secured. No matter your ambition, you could achieve”. Making reference to the animal, the Porcupine, he said that as small as it is, people cannot move near it, stating that when there is a disability, God always create an ability. Professor Akinyemi admonished the students to dwell less on their weaknesses and concentrate more on their strength. “Love yourself, love God, appreciate yourself and put your confidence in God”, he noted.
The President of NAPCS, FUNAAB Chapter, Mr. Ayetuoma Zion, a 400-level student in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Farm Management (AEFM), College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), solicited for financial support from well-meaning University community members, saying that such support would ameliorate the Association’s challenges in meeting both academic and logistic needs. According to him, the financial support would be used to photocopy lecture notes and course materials, purchase food stuffs, settle accommodation fees, procure crutches as well as manage emergencies among members. At the event, there was preparation of Semolina with Egusi soup by a visually-impaired woman to the admiration of guests.
The University has enjoyed another official partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). This time around, as a National Agricultural Research Partner for Southwest, Nigeria, for the development of African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), for the next five years. The University’s team is led by the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Felix Salako, while other members include Dr. Jamiu Azeez, Dr. Mutiu Busari and Mrs. Olabisi Onasanya; all of the Department of Soil Science and Land Management, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), as well as Mrs. Effioanwan Asuquo, the Project Accountant from the Bursary Department.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the University Management, lead scientists from IITA on the project, Dr. Stefan Hauser and Dr. Christine Kreye, said the Institute was pleased to partner FUNAAB in the area of Cassava Agronomy for the purpose of helping farmers to increase yield and diversify cassava production in Nigeria and other African countries. According to Dr. Hauser, based on a report from the project obtained from IITA, “The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) Project in Nigeria, was officially launched on January 27, 2016 at IITA, Ibadan, and was followed by the first planning meeting of the development partners, strategic partners, national research partners and project staff. The goal of ACAI is to reduce cassava yield gap from marginal farmer averages of around 10-11 tons per hectare to the potential attainable yields of over 30 tons per hectare. Ultimately, this will improve the livelihoods and incomes of cassava farmers in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and DR Congo”.
Responding, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, who led Principal Officers of the University on the visit, expressed the delight of Management that FUNAAB staff were being recognised to lead the project in the Southwestern part of Nigeria. He also appreciated the benefits derivable from the projects in terms of capacity building through postgraduate studies, national food security and poverty alleviation, while assuring of University’s support for the project.
In another development, while handing-over the vehicle donated to the project leader, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the University, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, commended the team for making the University proud. The Pro-Chancellor acknowledged the immense contributions of Professor Salako to the development of the University. Present at the occasion were the C:AVA team, led by Professor Lateef Sanni, who represented the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA) Project, which is a development partner of the project while ACAI is expected to support candidates to pursue a Ph.D degree overseas and Master’s degree in FUNAAB.
The International Conference is to be hosted by Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Southwest Nigeria between November 20th – 25th, 2016 under the Theme: Delivering Innovative Approaches in Food, Health and Well-being for sustainable Livelihood.
The Conference seeks:
- To create an International platform to stimulate scientific and interdisciplinary research in food science and human ecology.
- To provide opportunity for innovative partnerships between industry and academia in support of the global agenda for sustainable development.
- The conference is also to bring international attention to the Sub-Saharan Africa, where the greatest challenges in Food, Health and well-being are being experienced. Nigeria, being the most populous black Nation, offers an appropriate host.
- The conference will bring together lead scientists in the various disciplines as plenary speakers who will lead discussions on various sub themes.
- The conference will adopt an interactive format including plenary sessions, discussions on sub-themes, interdisciplinary interactions, symposia, and scientific sessions.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, has conveyed the gratitude of the Governing Council, Senate, Management, Staff and Students to the two Deputy Vice-Chancellors that have just completed their tenures in office, for their contributions to the development of the University. They are: Professor Adekojo Waheed, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Professor Felix Salako, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development).
Until their appointments, Professor Waheed was the immediate past Director, Academic Planning, while Professor Salako was re-appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) of the University. The former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is a Professor of Thermofluids Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering (COLENG), while the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) is a Professor of Soil Physics and Soil Conservation, Department of Soil Science and Land Management, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT).
Meanwhile, the former Deputy Vice-Chancellors have been honoured by the University’s Governing Council, for their meritorious service with a charge that they should not allow the legacies of their efforts go down the drain. The charge was given by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Senator/Sir (Dr.) Adeseye Ogunlewe, during the presentation of Awards of Recognition to the former DVCs, adding that they deserved to be honoured for their selfless and meritorious services to the University. The Pro-Chancellor then urged them to write their memoirs, by detailing their experiences and contributions to the university system for people to learn from.
In their separate remarks, a member of the Governing Council, Professor Femi Otubanjo, said the awardees were profound, distinguished scholars, serious-minded, diligent and hard working men of repute, who he enjoyed working with. On her part, another member, Mrs. Susan Oludiya, said they were meek, courteous, considerate and peaceful, saying their contributions were very useful to Council. Professor Clement Adeofun described the former DVCs as soft and gentle in their approach, which complemented the efforts of the Vice-Chancellor, noting that their services may still be needed in future. Chief Olukayode Akindele, noted that both Professors Salako and Waheed were tenacious and that Council would miss their contributions.
Alhaji Abba Dasuki, said the men were stabilizing factors and that the university system like that of FUNAAB needed strong and thorough individuals like them. He said they should be happy that competent people succeeded them as DVCs. He also noted that he had never regretted being a Council member at FUNAAB and if given another opportunity to serve, he would love to be back to the University. The University Bursar, Mr. Moses Ilesanmi, lauded the duo for being frank, blunt and for contributing positively to Council meetings during their tenures. Awards of Recognition were presented to them by the Pro-Chancellor. In their responses, the awardees appreciated the Governing Council for the honour bestowed on them, adding that they had really learnt from everybody on the Council.
Similarly, the University has approved the appointments of Professor Oluwayemisi Eromosele as the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Professor Ololade Enikuomehin as the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development). Professor Eromosele, who is the first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor in FUNAAB, was until the appointment, the Pioneer Dean of the newly-created College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), while Professor Enikuomehin was the immediate past Dean, Postgraduate School of the University.
The new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is a Professor of Industrial Chemistry. She bagged a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Benin, Master’s degree from the University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), United Kingdom and Doctorate degree from the University of Benin. Professor Eromosele is a fellow of several professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria and Chemical Society of Nigeria. She is also a member of the Third World Organisation for Women in Science.
She has held several administrative and academic positions within and outside the University. Some include: Chairperson, University Admissions Committee; Co-ordinator, Pre-degree Programme; Head, Department of Chemistry; Hall Warden, Iyalode Tinubu Hall; and Chairman, Students’ Welfare and Hostel Management Committee. Professor Eromosele has supervised a number of undergraduate and postgraduate degree projects and published several journal articles and conference proceedings. Duties of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) include, but are not limited to, all academic-related matters, academic policies, development, administration and review, coordination and academic oversight of educational activities of other campuses, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate course work programmes.
Professor Enikuomehin obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the Bendel State University (now Ambrose Alli University), Ekpoma and Master’s as well as Doctorate degrees from the University of Ibadan. Professor Enikuomehin was the Best Graduating M.Sc Student in 1990. He is a member of several learned societies, which include the Nigerian Society for Plant Protection, Organic Agriculture Project in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria and the American Phytopathogical Society. He has served the University in several capacities such as the Chairman, Committee of Deans and Directors; Member, University Governing Council; and Member, Anti-Corruption and Transparency Committee of FUNAAB.
Professor Enikuomehin has supervised several graduate and postgraduate students and has published many books, monographs and journal articles.
Duties of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) include, but not limited to, all development-related matters such as exchange and linkages programmes both local and international, liaising with external agencies and non-governmental organisations, developing innovative programmes and ventures as well as staff development. Other functions include exploring industrial relations for the University's development as well as coordinating and integrating the operations of University's Centres, Institutes, alumni, parks and projects.
University Dons have charged Nigerian farmers to embrace the rearing of KALAWAD goats for optimal meat production in the nation as well as the inclusion of poly-unsaturated fatty acid in the feeding of the West African Dwarf Goat in order to obtain optimum productivity of the West African Dwarf Does and Kids.
The first call was made by Professor Bamidele Oluwatosin, a Programme Leader and Ruminant Animal Specialist at the Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), while the second advice was given by Professor Olusiji Sowande of the Department of Animal Production and Health, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM).
According to Professor Oluwatosin, the breakthrough recorded in her on-going research on the cross-breeding of the Kalahari Red (KR) goat from South Africa with the local indigenous breed, called the West African Dwarf (WAD) goat, would encourage the rearing of the KALAWAD goats. The Professor said the idea of crossbreeding these breeds of goats was conceived in year 2011, to improve the small body size, reproductive performance, meat production and overall performance of the WAD goats. She disclosed that, KALAWAD is a name invented by the KRG research team in IFSERAR given to a breed obtained from the cross-breeding of the Kalahari Red goat with the West African Dwarf (WAD) goat.
She gave the features of the Kalahari Red goat as: fast growing, very agile, voracious, high twinning rate, hardy, of high meat, milk producer and less tolerant to prevalent diseases, saying the KR had adapted well to the environment. She further noted that since the animals arrived the University, members of the research team had engaged in various studies to determine their abilities to adapt to the prevailing environmental conditions. Apart from this, they have also analysed the mitochondrial DNA as an initial step to investigating the genetic structure of the breed. Baseline information is also available on the reproductive performance of the KR as it compares with the local WAD goats. She further debunked the perceived misconception by farmers concerning feeding them, because the goats though exotic, can be fed with locally available feed-stuffs and crop residues such as groundnut haulms, cassava peels and cowpea stover.
Professor Oluwatosin added that this year, her research would venture into the artificial insemination of the local goats using semen from the Kalahari Red goat, because there was high demand for the KALAWAD goats by farmers. She stated further that the main difference between the Kalahari Red goat and the West African Dwarf goat is the proportion of meat yield, which she said, was about four times. She buttressed this assertion by stating that results of second generation KALAWAD kids with average birth weight of 3.7kg have been obtained. This high birth weight of the goats has given them comparative advantage over the indigenous WAD counterpart with an average birth weight of 1.2kg. She expressed her profound appreciation to the University Management and most especially, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, for his support for the project so far.
The Programme Leader highlighted some of the constraints facing the research to include insufficient funding, prevalence of animal diseases, environmental factors, and inadequate water to irrigate grasses all-year-round. She added that some of these challenges may be surmounted with sponsorship and collaboration with organisations like the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other foreign donors. She stressed that many FUNAAB students, under the World Bank-sponsored Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE), were already working on the Kalahari Red goat in their postgraduate research projects. Professor Oluwatosin summarised that results of the cross-breeding of KRG/WAD had given her research team an assurance that producing a Nigerian meat goat breed for high economic returns was achievable.
Meanwhile, Professor Olusiji Sowande of the Department of Animal Production and Health, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), has called for the inclusion of poly-unsaturated fatty acid in the feeding of the West African Dwarf Goat in order to obtain optimum productivity of the West African Dwarf Does and Kids. Professor Sowande stated this while assessing the results obtained in his ongoing research titled, The Welfare and Productivity of West African Dwarf Does and Kids: Influence of Dietary Inclusion of Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid.
He said that the West African Dwarf Goat are prolific and tolerant to many diseases. Yet, many goat kids die at birth and some before weaning. The University Don said that poly-unsaturated fatty acid, which is obtained from Algae biomass, has the capacity to reduce mortality, sustain the animals, enable the pregnant animal to carry the pregnancy throughout the gestation period without any hitch, stimulate the productivity of the animals by reducing oxidative stress in the animal (unseen internal metabolic stress), and ensuring the survival of the kids up to the weaning age. He added that a preliminary research, which was earlier done on pigs, sheep and growing WAD goats, showed positive and favourable response such as fast growth rate of animal feeding on poly-unsaturated fatty acid without giving them any drugs and enabled the animal to gain more weight, add more energy and increase the ability to resist and/or withstand parasitic infection, most especially, worms.
The University Don adduced the reasons for these attributes to the fact that the poly-unsaturated fatty acid were better because they can combine with free radicals to reduce lipase enzyme production, such that platelet aggregation, blood triglycerides, blood clots and cholesterol are reduced with improvements in cardiac and vascular function, mental health and reproductive functions. Professor Sowande explained further that the ongoing research would be looking into how to better the performance of the animal, how the poly-unsaturated fatty acid would affect the number of litter per birth, behaviour of the Does during and after pregnancy and the survival of the Kids in the first 90 days. He added that the management system imposed on the animal in the ongoing research was the intensive system. That is, confinement of the animal to a pen.
Professor Sowande itemized the challenges facing the ongoing research to include: inability to get all the animal pregnant at the same time and lack of sufficient pasture, adding that in order to sustain this research, the research team was collaborating with researchers from the University of Lagos, the New Castle University, United Kingdom and St. Cloud State University, United States of America. Multiplication of the goats through breeding would ensure that weaner goats are available for sale to farmers, to generate income for the University and to reduce the importation of animals into the country.
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) is organising a verification and enrolment exercise for employees in the service of the Federal Government that are due for retirement between January and December 2017, by the virtue of their attainment of the retiring age of 70 years for Academic and 65 years for Non-teaching Staff in tertiary institutions across the country. All former staff of the University, who have either voluntarily retired or withdrawn their services, but are yet to be verified and enrolled by the National Pension Commission (PenCom) are to contact the Principal Assistant Registrar (Pension), in the University with a view to participating in the retirement Benefit Enrolment Exercise, to be held this year. Also, staff who intend to retire voluntarily or withdraw their services from the University between January and December 2017, are requested to contact the Principal Assistant Registrar (Pension), to enable them participate in the Retirement Benefit Enrolment Exercise. Former staff and new staff that intend to either retire voluntarily or withdraw their services in 2017, are to make use of the opportunity of the exercise to enrol under the scheme.
The University has held its 51st Inaugural Lecture and the 2015/2016 Academic Session Matriculation Ceremony. During the Inaugural Lecture, the need for Nigeria to evolve sustainable local engineering designs that would bring about rapid transformation was stressed. This was the submission of Professor Adeniyi Olayanju, an expert in Agricultural Mechanisation in the College of Engineering (COLENG) of FUNAAB. According to Professor Olayanju, the trio of man, material and machine constitute the wheels of a tricycle that would drive agricultural mechanisation. Therefore, the country needs to have good engineering designs that would be locally-based towards diversification of the non-oil sector.
Themed, “Man, Material and Machine: The Tricycle for Agricultural Mechanisation”, the Inaugural Lecture examined the three factors of production; man as a designer, material either plant or animal that exhibits characteristics that have to be understood before an efficient and effective machine could be built, in order to mechanise agriculture. According to the Don, the raw materials available in Nigeria, such as agro-allied or solid mineral, have peculiar characteristics and qualities, which only local engineers could discover and adopt to meet their design needs, as he made case for local engineering capacities in the design and fabrication of equipment and machinery for the processing of local raw materials.
The Professor of Agricultural Mechanisation in the Department of Agricultural Engineering of the University, has ascribed the poor performance of available equipment to the limited application of process engineering design calculation in the fabrication, which was reaffirmed by a recently-conducted survey by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), that most of the locally-fabricated process equipment in the country were not based on detailed engineering design calculations and drawings. Therefore, for products of local manufacturers, process equipment and machinery to be integrated into meaningful activities of national economy and acceptance in foreign markets, he advised that deliberate plan should be evolved for continuous improvement in the product design, quality of products, finishing, material selection, cost reduction and product flexibility.
He called on the government to provide incentives and create a conducive environment that would transform science and technology into efficient engineering practice for the country and to also promote local engineering capability in the design and fabrication of equipment and machinery in the processing of local raw materials. The Don also called for virile interaction among the academia, industry and government establishments in the fabrication of process equipment and plants for sustainable industrial development. Professor Olayanju disclosed that his research in the last two decades had focused on the development of agricultural machines with emphasis on the study of engineering properties of agricultural materials and design of processing machines used for the beniseed, small-scale farmers and oil-seed processors, so as to increase their productivity with less drudgery, noting that “beniseed has high economic potentials in Nigeria, both as a source of raw materials for the vegetable oil industry and as a reliable foreign exchange earner”.
According to him, other equipment produced by him to solve some of the many challenges facing agricultural mechanisation include the Vegetable Oil Filter Press, Ofada Rice Thresher, the Modified Grain Cleaner, Garri Fryer, Cassava Chip Dryer, Cassava Pelletiser and a Model Grain Cleaner using Bamboo, which he co-developed with other respected researchers during his attendance of the Technology Training Course in Hangzhou, China while the products of his research had won many laurels during the prestigious National Design Competition in 2004 as well as the National University Research and Development Fairs in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Concluding, Professor Olayanju stated that “education and training form the fundamental factors in capacity building and manpower development, it becomes very important to plan a special design awareness programme, which must take into account such basic deficiencies”, such as low graphic literacy level nationwide, neglect of technical education, absence of qualified and experienced technical teachers and low computer literacy, among others.
Speaking at the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, had stated that the Inaugural Lecture was fourth from the College of Engineering (COLENG), adding that it was the 15th, he would be presiding over as the Vice-Chancellor of the University. The Vice-Chancellor, who is also the President, Association of African Universities (AAU), commended Professor Olayanju for his exceptional performance in the discharge of his duties in the University.
Meanwhile, a total of 3,827 newly-admitted students in the University have participated in the 2015/2016 Academic Session Matriculation Ceremony. Breakdown shows that the matriculated students spread across the 10 Colleges, as follows: College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD - 297), College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM - 500), College of Engineering (COLENG - 218), College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM - 408), College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC - 308), and College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT - 515).
Others are: College of Veterinary Medicine (COLVET - 40), College of Management Sciences (COLMAS - 760), College of Biological Sciences (COLBIOS - 307) and College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS - 474). The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, congratulated the students on their admission, noting that the matriculation ceremony was the fourth he would preside-over as the Vice-Chancellor. He pointed out that the University had witnessed unprecedented growth and development in all ramifications as espoused by its founding fathers, stating that a total of 3,827 students were fortunate to be offered provisional admission, being the highest number in the history of the University. He assured the students that the University would continue to strive within the limits of the resources at its disposal, to make the environment conducive for serious academic activities while cautioning that FUNAAB has zero tolerance for cultism and other social vices.
The Vice-Chancellor disclosed that FUNAAB remained one of the best universities in Nigeria. For quality assurance of its various courses, he noted that the National Universities Commission (NUC) accreditation teams visited all the academic programmes of the University and 96 percent of the academic programmes were accredited. He charged the students to be disciplined, shun examination malpractices, fully utilise campus facilities for optimal academic success, be well-dressed, engage in responsible students’ unionism and be health conscious. The Vice-Chancellor, however, appealed to parents, guardians and sponsors to “take keen interest in the activities of your children and wards, frequently visiting them in their hostels and off-campus residences. Never assume that they are grown-ups. While you pray for them, ensure that they shun bad companies and associations. Encourage them on the path of self-discipline and comportment”.
In a similar development, the Fourth Commencement Lecture of FUNAAB was held during the Matriculation Ceremony, which had Professor Isaac Aiyelaagbe, of the Department of Horticulture, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) of the University as the lecturer. The Don challenged the newly-admitted students to win the race of academic excellence in a great University like FUNAAB that is renowned for its high standard. Delivering a lecture titled, “Running to Win: Is the Prize Worth the Price?”, Professor Aiyelaagbe likened university education to the world of an athlete involved in a competitive sports with the sole aim of winning the ultimate prize.
Giving tips on how to win the race, Professor Aiyelaagbe called on the students to have a dream and articulate that dream of running to win by setting a goal by determining to pay the price as success has a price tag and to maximise their time, listen to the ‘coach’, who are their lecturers, compete according to the rules as cheating was never an option, show perseverance and have faith in God, noting that unnecessary distractions were capable of making it impossible for the students to achieve their lofty goals in life.
“I must paraphrase the words of Paul of Tarsus (AD 5-67) “Do you not know that in a race, all runners run, but only one gets the (first) prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize”. Having laid out before you the facts and the merits of running to win; having articulated the price and the hurdles to overcome; being fully aware of the state of the nation as we all pine for a positive turn around in our circumstance, it is time to ask the question again; Running to Win: Is the Prize Worth the Price?”, Professor Aiyelaagbe said.
As part of its strategy in nation building, Nigeria has invested in tertiary education to cultivate the intellect and character of its work force with the view to raising the banners of excellence higher and higher in Nigeria. Year after year, the number of tertiary institutions keeps increasing. To date there are 139 Universities in Nigeria[40 Federal, 40 State, 59 Private] (NUC, 2015). In absence of up to date data, it is reasonable to assume that this year alone, more than 40,000 students will be given admission to train in various professions nationwide.And not without reason; the aim is to swell the human capital of the nation and translate this into national development. The question is,whether this goal will be achieved.
Welcome to the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), a great University renowned for the high quality of its learning with laurels to show for its mettle. FUNAAB is running to win.It’s so easy to see that this is a great place to be and believe it or not, you have just entered into a race with other fresh undergraduates as you hunch on your marks over the starting blocks to begin your raceto excel in learning and in character in FUNAAB. As you do so one wonders how many of you will stay on the tracks? How many will complete their course of study on schedule and in good standing? How many of you will acquire the required competences graduating to become agents of development required to usher in a better life for Nigerians? How many will allow the University to pass through them and go out to be veritable agents of change who make the world a better place to live in; not just because they posses head knowledge of facts, but top it up withskills to match. What’s more, they have acquired a good sense of distinguishing between right and wrong which has resulted in sterling character which is not swayed by the lure of ill gotten wealth or cheap applause. Sucha person is not running aimlessly; he or she is running to win. You becomea veritable ambassador of FUNAAB, spreading the news that FUNAAB is the place to be if you want to learn to run to win; if you want to be a star.
What does it mean to run to win? Why must I run to win?
But what does it mean to run to win? This metaphor is coined from the world of an athlete involved in competitive sports. In all modesty I have had some experience in competitive amateur athletics, so I can speak to what it means to ‘run to win’. It means living with and pursuing a specific dream to excel in life. But if you stop at dreaming and do nothing more, your goal will remain a mere dream, like many New Year resolutions that evaporate before February of the year runs out. You must determine in your heart to turn your dream in to reality. What does running to win mean in your circumstance? As students it means setting the goal of academic excellence; keeping the prestigious First Class degree in your sight and pursuing it with all vigour. Furthermore it means broadening one's mind, learning new patterns of thinking, of stretching one's mind, of having new ideas and experiences, of meeting people from everywhere, of making new lifelong friendships, of learning better, deeper, more intensely, thinking critically and acquiring the skills to solve problems. You must view your goal like the gold medal every Olympian covets and the World cup that very national football team covets. You must run your race to win because excellence opens doors to further achievement and greatness. Winning puts you in line for opportunities to help yourself and help others too. Excellence (all things being equal) brings riches and lasting rewards of satisfaction, fulfilment and influence. Those who excel are often in the news for the right reasons; the world takes note of what they say and do and celebrates their achievements. Think about what a joy it would be to your parents if on graduation you excel. Then their sacrifice to train you will seem almost like nothing; eclipsed by the resounding joy of your accomplishment. What’s more, a very top government officialrecently remarked that one of the greatest hindrances to rapid development in Nigeria is the shortage of professionals who combine competence with virtue. Wouldn’t you rather help make such a statement become history bybeing a celebrated winner rather than Mr or Ms. anonymous, passing through this great University unnoticed?
Strategies to run to win
Do you have a goal or are you groping around, drifting and living life as a gamble hoping that somehow by chance or stroke of ‘good luck’ your dreams will come true and you will win the prize?Far from it.Are you running to win? Do you realize there is aprice to pay and that others aspire to win as well,and that there is only one gold medal for your event?
What makes the difference between dream and reality? Strategy; perhaps you would like to consider the following tips and certainly add to the list:
- Articulate your dreamof running to win :Set a goal. FUNAAB has a vision. Its vision states ‘To be a centre of Excellence in knowledge generation towards global development and the sustainability of an environmentally friendly society’. I invite you to find out its core values and mission and key into them. It is not enough to be inspired by the success of others and to admire them. You need to ask yourself ‘What do I want to achieve in FUNAAB during my stay as a student?’Have you already set your goal or are you still day dreaming, back slapping and relieving the euphoria of your admission? Your admission is now history and you need to prove that it was not a mistake. Is it merely your dream to matriculate..? No! that’s not what you came here to do; you came to learn and graduate with honours..! So what goals have you set for yourself? What is the prize you covet? Is it a realistic goal? When do I want to achieve it? How will I achieve it? Which indicators will help me to measure my progress in my pursuit of excellence? Here are some suggestions to fire your imagination; Graduate in the much prized first class degree; Break the previous records of academic performance in this University and set a new record of CGP; Be the valedictorian of your set; Win all the available prizes in your department; Become a young inventor, acquire entrepreneurial skills for a career in business or make a name for erudition honour, courage and altruism all combined?
Princess TejumadeAlakija (1925-2013), was not born poor. She was the daughter of the famous Ooni of Ife Oba AdesojiAderemi. Although she could have strutted around, brandished her father’s credentials and settled for a life of ease and opulence, she rose beyond the trappings of royalty, worked hard to earn degrees from University of London and Oxford University and became the first female Head of Service in former Oyo State [Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Osun States]1980 -1983. That was no mean feat.Do you know that you do not have to pay extra school fees to have a first class, that it costs just as much to finish with a third class? If you know people who are not running to win, keep your distance from them or they will recruit you into their team.
- Determine to pay the price
Success is much more than a happenstance. Success has a price tag; there’s no cheap success.There is a price to pay for everything in life both success and failure.In success you pay before hand; in failure you pay afterwards. What price are you willing to pay for in the pursuit of your dream to win? What are you willing to forgo? Determine to pay the price. Every athlete who aspires to win knows there is a price to pay; restricted diet, rigorous training even in inclement weather and other aspects of personal discipline. Enefiok Udo-Obong one of Nigeria’s gold medallists in the 2000 Olympics said he trained 7hours daily, pushing his body to the limits of endurance. You will need to set your priorities on what is important, avoid what is not, and stick with your list even when it hurts. For instance, is turning up for classes dressed like a model more important than being punctual for lectures? If you were down to your last Naira, would you rather download a few important journal articles for your6 study or buy a bottle of soft drink? Would you rather spend time writing your term paper to submit it on schedule than attend the ‘ladies free’ party that weekend?Certainly, you will need to cut out time from sleep and spend more time in the library or the virtual library doing extra reading beyond what the lecturer has taught in the limited space of time allowed by the time table. That Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909 – 1987) is quoted to have said ‘Those who desire to reach and keep their place at the top in any calling must be prepared to do so the hard way’(i.e pay the price).
- Maximise your time
This is the strongest indicator that you are determined to win. God in his infinite wisdom allotted only 24 hours to a day. Many things will compete for these hours. It is so easy to fritter away time, yet time is a non-renewable resource: once you’ve spent it (or wasted it), it’s gone forever. There will be more things competing for attention than there is time to attend to. Therefore you will have to make a choice as to what to do, suspend or avoid. To make good choices you need to set your priorities afore hand. What are the most important things in your race to win? What will help you reach your goal? Spend more time at them. Having a personal time table to guide your use of time is a worthy strategy. It helps you to stay focussed, evaluate your progress and be balanced. Having a diary or year planer is a worthy investment in time management. Being in school is not only about reading; you need to intersperse this with times of relaxation; fortunately, FUNAAB has many avenues for wholesome relaxation and socializing. Directorate of Sports will certainly be glad to assist all who would like to be involved in games and sports.
- Listen to the coach
Every athlete knows the value of having a good coach. The coach may not be young and beautiful (or handsome), but she (or he) has tasted both success and failure. Coaches are blessed with years of experience and know how to help you succeed byconverting your raw talent into that of a champion. Listen to the counseland correction of the coachand follow them. In this instance, the coaches are your teachers. Submit yourself to mentoring. Without being disrespectful, cultivate a wholesome relationship with your lecturers, watch their style to seek what you can borrow or adapt. Seek clarification and advice on grey areas, pick their brains; you’ve paid for it. In retrospect, I think most students do not take advantage of the opportunities for mentoring and profiting from the experience of their lecturers. They come to class unprepared and thus cannot process information fast enough or sustain a meaningful academic discussion. Many are self opinionated and lethargic and just waiting for the class to end. They do not revise their notes or do extra reading required to migrate to the A class of studentship. Even if you are not an exceptionally bright student, you can take advantage of the experience of the coach, stand on the shoulders of the coach to walk taller than you otherwise would have been. Fortunately, what the teachers teach can after be augmented by searching the internet, take advantage of that. If in spite of all attempts you are finding it difficult to run to win, seek help with the Counselling Unit.
- Compete according to the rules
Some have been reckless in their pursuit of the success and disregarded the rules. I once knew an athlete who ran the 400 meters. This athlete (gender withheld) usually took the outerlane and thus was placed far ahead of others in the start off. The athlete took advantage of this when the race started, but in addition when running the curves of the track far from spectators’ view cleverly crossed the lanes to reduce the distance and often won the race and even broke records. This went on until this trick was discovered and you can easily tell what the athlete got for such an endeavour; disgrace. You probably know a few international athletes who have been stripped of their medals after they failed the drug tests. Similarly, in this University, some students have been caught cheating during examinations in their bid to ‘run to win’. FUNAAB considers this unethical- the culprits have been made to face the Students’ Disciplinary Committee and received the full penalty of cheating according to the university regulations. The law is no respecter of persons; the only prize you get for cheating is disgrace. Even when you have repented of this vice, in years to come the only thing your colleagues may remember about you is that you cheated in an exam. Is that your desire?
Perseverance is sustained action or belief in pursuit of a gaol even in the face of attendant difficulties. It is difficult to imagine success without perseverance.Many potential champions stop just short of success because they gave up too soon. The lives of great heroes like Dr. Nelson Mandela (1918 -2013) the first black president of the Republic of South Africa, Mahatman Ghandi of India (1869 - 1943), Mother Theresa of India (1910 - 1997) and Louis Pasteurof France (1822-1895 )show us that perseverance pays rich dividends. Other examples of people who persevered and9succeeded include the current president of Nigeria His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari (1942 - ) who ran for the presidency in 2003, 2007, 2011 before finally succeeding in 2015. Similarly, George Foreman achieved the near impossible; he won the world heavy weight boxing championship the at the age of 45; 10 years after he lost title the first time.ChiomaAjunwa-Opara (1970 -) became the first Nigerian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. She won it at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia after suffering a 4 year ban for doping. It was the fruit of perseverance. If you want to run to win, you must add perseverance to your list other virtues. Keep the goalin view and work persistently towards it. If you do not succeed the first time, it’s not enough reason to give up. Try again. Do not give up!
- Faith in God
Faith in God is not an excuse for lazy or sloppy work. Rather, having done all your part in the attempt to succeed, it is an opportunity to submit to a higher authority your imperfections and limitations in spite of your best attempts and seek favours and help to run to win. Faith in God and cultivating a relationship with God puts help beyond your natural capabilities which would otherwise been inaccessible at your disposal.It makes life’s good things better and the better best; not just for you but your neighbours as well. Our nation is in dire need of men (and women) who not only mouth pious ideals of religion, but follow through with incontrovertible non-partisan righteous acts. Perhaps you will choose to become such men and women.
Hindrances and distractions
Good intentions are not enough, in spite of your desire to run to win, there are distractions and barriers which could scuttle your dream and it is worth the while to know a few of them and be prepared to overcome them.
Far too many young people believe that success is not possible and do not even try to succeed. They are rather laid back and suffer from self imposed inferiority complex. They think they are not bright or rich, come from a poor obscure background, disabled and so on and so forth. They are content just to get by with a pass mark, or take the same exam over and again and have no desire to excel. They have no reason not to aspire to run to win. They do not understand that it costs the same school fees to make a first class or a third class degree, and that the university does not offer discounts on school fees to students who have overstayed. The stories of the lives of great men and women show that many of them were not born with the silver spoon in their mouths. They did not have success served to them in the cafeteria. They overcame lethargy and other obstacles in their desire to win the prize of excellence. They worked their way up to success. Here are a few examples of winners who did not buy stock into lethargy:
General Colin Luther Powell is a United States statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. His parents were poor Jamaican immigrants yet he persevered and rose throughthe ranks in the army to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In retirement, he defied all odds to become the 65th U.S. Secretary of State (2001 – 2005). He was the first African American in the history of America to be appointed to the position.
Dr. Ben Carson went from being a poor student, raised by a half literate mother to receiving academic honours and eventually attending medical school. As a doctor, he became director of paediatric neurosurgery at the world famous Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33. He is a world famous neurosurgeon. He has written many motivational books.
Samuel Ajayi Crowther (1807-1891) was a rescued African slave originally from Osogun in Oyo Sate, Nigeria. He was settled in Sierra Leone and later became the first African Bishop of the Church of England famous for his exploits in linguistics and evangelisation.Dr. Mae Jemison (1956 - )overcame racial prejudice to become a physician, NASA consultant and the first female African American astronaut.
- Unbridled liberty and fun
It may or may not surprise you that in FUNAAB, there is no morning bell to wake you up. No prefect to yell at you to make sure you go to the dining hall and be on time for the morning assembly. Those who take that as liberty to loaf around, or stay in bed until the sun is high in the sky will soon find out that, whether you are present in class or not lectures will hold, assignments will be issued, continuous assessments tests will hold. The clock is always ticking. Before you know it, it will be time for the semester exams and you can be sure none of the questions set will ask you the scores oflast night’s football match or how many parties you have attended to date. Those who fail will be required to repeat the course. If it happens to be a second semester course, then they spend an extra session in schools and graduate behind their set. Furthermore, the results will
bereleased and published; everyone will see clearly whether you have been running to win or just taking a stroll in the university. No story of saying ‘I passed, but goats ate my card’. So what will you do with your time in the University?
Although FUNAAB is a citadel of learning set to excel in all that is of good report, there are a few reprobates stalking around to recruit people into their club of ‘never do wells’. Such students who have lost their way, they like it so much in this University and they plan to stay as long as the university allows them. They do not attend classes and love to hang out at joints doing everything except studying. They do not plan to graduate with a degree;they would be satisfied to earn a ‘Certificate of attendance’, frame it and hang it on the wall to advertise their failure. What’s more they are looking for company and will soon come recruiting. Flaunting ill gotten wealth of posh cars and nice clothes, they promise heaven on earth on campus if you join their league of ‘big boys’ and ‘cool babes’. Those who are greedy and love to live above their means, ‘keep up with the joneses’, like free meals and drinks, big gifts and short cuts to success and fame often fall easy prey to them. Watch the company you keep. Watch out and be on your guard for them. They may be drug pushers in disguise, hecklers, pimps or members of exclusive clubs called cults who excel at vices and violence. If you join their league, you’ll be weighed down; you will notbe running to win.Remember that if such people come soliciting, you have a right to say no! If they persist, the Students Affairs Office will be able to help you file a report there. Those who are running to win the prize of excellence cannot split their attention between serious study and servicing membership of such associations.
- Less than ideal conditions
In spite of the attempt of the university administration, FUNAAB is not a perfect community. It does not function like a 5-star hotel. There are power cuts and outages, down times on the internet, water shortages, long bus queues, shortage of accommodation on campus, there is much to achieve within tight deadlines.The good news is that administration is working hard within its limited means to improve the situation. In between now and the El Dorado, you must still run to win. And who knows, as part of your academic endeavour you may invent new ways of making the campus nearer the ideal. In any case, no number of excuses for poor performance ever tallies into success. So determine to succeed in spite of the less than ideal conditions. When you graduate, a similar world awaits you in the world of work. So rather than bemoan your situation, strive to excel in spite of the limitations. Thank God for what you have and trust him for what you need. In any case your parents did not send you to FUNAAB on vacation but to learn and excel.
In closing, I must paraphrase the words of Paul of Tarsus (AD 5-67) “Do you not know that in a race, all runners run, but only one gets the (first) prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize”
Having laid out before you the facts and the merits of running to win; having articulated the price and the hurdles to overcome; being fully aware of the state of the nation as we all pine for a positive turn around in our circumstance, it is time to ask the question again; Running to win: Is the prize worth the price..?
Thank you all for your rapt attention
- Adeyemo, A. (2015). Unemployment in Nigeria: Slaying the Giant. Bookbuilders, Ibadan, 181 pp.
- Famous African people. Biography Online
- Botting, D. (1973). Humboldt and the Cosmus. Prestel, Munich, 323pp
- Foreman, G.(2007). God in my Corner., Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 211pp
- National Universities Commission http://nuc.edu.ng
- The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation www.obafemiawolowo foundation.org
- Tracy, B. (2010). No Excuses: The Power of self Discipline. Beuland Publications,Benin City, 293pp
In a bid to improve the nutritional well-being of school-age children, a Food Technologist with the University's Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Dr. Abiodun Adeola, has developed an enriched biscuit that is rich in protein and micro-nutrients, which are essential for their growth.
According to him, "my research is a Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Project and the reason why we embarked on the research was to improve the nutritional well-being of school- age children using enriched biscuit. Biscuit, as we all know, is a common snack for all ages but it is more prominent among the school-age children. But most of the commercially-available biscuits, especially those that are within the reach of an average school child in Nigeria are poor nutritionally, in the sense that they are mainly high in energy with little or no other nutrients that are essential for their growth, and that is what our research targets".
Speaking on the process through which the research was conducted and the key ingredients therein, the Food Technologist said that at the outset of the project, the principle of innovation platform was adopted, whereby stakeholders and beneficiaries, who are mainly mothers of these school children were carried along so that the research could be something that was jointly acceptable and for the benefit of all parties involved. "We had to involve the beneficiaries, which are the mothers of these school children, in order to jointly agree on the need for this project and also to select the right or appropriate material that they could easily get", he said.
Dr. Adeola disclosed that the crops that were finally selected were potato, unripe cooking banana and a legume called pigeon pea. According to him, ‘pigeon pea is known to be rich in protein but is an underutilized legume, so utilizing it in this project was a way of finding good use for it’. He noted that all the selected crops could easily be gotten, adding that in the long term, the research knowledge was something that the project intends to transfer to the beneficiaries although not explicitly stated in the project.
Explaining further, the researcher stated that "we want the biscuit to become a standard when biscuit is talked about in the country among school-age children. So, we just felt that we should look at some local materials that we would use to produce biscuits that would be nutritious and at the same time, be within the economic reach of an average school child in Nigeria. The focus is on children because we felt that children are the future of Nigeria and one of the ways that we can correct most malnutrition cases that we have is to tackle it early because research and common knowledge have shown that “we are what we eat”. “So, whatever we eat now will eventually make or mar us in terms of nutritional well-being in the future. So, based on this fact, we felt that we should look into school-age children so that we will be able to reduce the incidence of most of these malnutrition cases we observe in later years as they grow up". He added that there was already a standard recipe for the biscuit.
Responding to the possibility of having the biscuit commercially-produced, Dr. Adeola said when looking at the commercialization of the project or any project on food, a lot of stages were involved and presently, the project was at developing a process technology for the production of the biscuit and thereafter, the other stages could be looked into but noted that this was not included in the project. Speaking on the specific dietary need the biscuit would be addressing, the University Don said primarily, the product was targeting the vitamins, minerals and protein needs of the school-age children because they need them while growing up in addition to the energy-giving nutrients that they get for other biscuit brands.
Speaking on the nutrition of Nigerians and the school- age children, Dr. Adeola said "our nutrition has not been adequate, especially among the school children because what they eat mostly could be referred to as junks and this is because the things that are readily available to these school children are mainly things like sweets and a few kinds of biscuits that are filled with sugar. This is also obtainable for the adults as they have not been taking the right diet, at the right quantity and at the right time, and mind you, whatever we might be saying that is adequate will depend on the age group. So, most of us don't realize that for specific age we have specific needs but most of us still want to continue to eat the way we had been eating in the past and these are some of the things that create problems for us. We are supposed to know that as we advance in age, in terms of quantity, this is the quantity I am supposed to take, in terms of the nutrient, these are the categories of nutrient that we are supposed to take. So, most of it, as we would see, is as a result of not being aware of what we are supposed to take and it is a major problem but by the time we have that awareness, we would be able to take the right diet that would be suitable for our age".
Shedding light on another project being handled by him, the West African Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP) on nutrition, Dr. Adeola said the project was mainly to develop a complementary food, which the common man calls weaning food for children, adding that the idea came from the fact that during the period when children were being weaned, there were problems because of the transition from the breast milk to real food. The Food Technologist, also noted that there was no point feeding a child beyond a certain age with breast milk, because apart from the depletion in the maternal supply of milk, there would also be an increase in need by the baby. Many commercially available complementary foods are more or less very expensive and beyond the reach of the common man.
According to Dr. Adeola, the project involved not only FUNAAB, but two other research institutes namely the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and that he was the Principal Investigator on the project. He pointed out that on the part of the University, a process technology had been developed for the complementary food, which basically makes use of yellow fleshed cassava, sorghum, pigeon pea and soybeans. The Food Technologists said the other part of the work being handled by FIIRO was the biological evaluation of the complementary food while the next stage would be to go to the field because the project entailed technology dissemination and that would be done as soon as the next tranche of fund was received from WAAPP.
Dr. Adeola, who stated that the first stage of assessing the acceptability of the product had been done by using mothers within the University community, noted that it was well accepted but added that a more comprehensive assessment would be done on the field so as to expand the acceptability of the product while a follow-up would also be done to determine how well the research has been adopted and what challenge, if any, was being experienced. He said, "the product targets the micro-nutrient and protein intake of children thereby helping in the alleviation of protein malnutrition in Nigeria because this is a big problem among the children".
On research activities in the country, Dr. Adeola stated that, a lot of researches were being done in the country but there was the need for the researches to be developmental as most researches just lie on the shelf or journals. He called on the government and other relevant stakeholders to fund researches and see how these researches can be commercialized so that Nigeria would be able to stand out in terms of development.