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News Published in January 2017

FUNAAB Don Wins ECOWAS Grant

Professor Adebayo Shittu of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD) of the Federal University of Agricultural Abeokuta (FUNAAB), has won an international grant to the tune of Euros 118,956 from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Professor Shittu stated that a proposal titled, “Incentivising Adoption of Climatic Smart Practices in Cereals Production in Nigeria: Sociocultural and Economic Diagnosis”, was prepared by his team to apply for the funding in collaboration with the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, Niger State, following the Call for Proposal on “Innovative Projects for Food and Nutrition Security in West Africa”, courtesy of the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF), Support Programme for Food and Nutrition Security in West Africa (PASANAO), with the funding assistance from the French Development Agency (AFD).

Professor Shittu noted that the nation-wide study sought to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of adopting Climate Smart Practices (CSPs), in maize and rice production, adding that it was also to Identify appropriate mechanisms by which wide-spread adoption of CSPs might be incentivised to stop or reverse land degradation, evaluate the restoration of ecosystem health, enhance livelihood outcomes and build resilience to climate change using the examples of rice and maize farmers in Nigeria, while the duration of the project is one year, which ends in October 2017.
The Professor Agricultural and Resource Economics further stated that members of his research team comprise Professor Oluwakemi Fapojuwo, Department of Agricultural Administration; Dr. Bolarinwa Senjobi, Department of Soil Science and Land Management; Dr. Thomas Fabunmi, Department of Plant Physiology and Crop Production; Dr. Dare Akerele, Department of Agricultural Extension and Farm Management; and Dr. Rahman Sanusi, also from AEFM. Others are Dr. Abiodun Obayelu and Dr. Elizabeth Oluwalana, from the Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), while the collaborating scientists from NCRI include Dr. Saliu Tiamiyu; Miss Uduma Ugalahi; and Mr. Jude Eze.

C: AVA II Hosts AMBCN

The Cassava Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA II) Nigeria team, recently hosted the executives of the Association of Master Bakers and Confectioneries of Nigeria (AMBCN), to evaluate the current status of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) usage in the baking and confectionery industries.


Welcoming the executives of AMBCN and representatives of the Nigeria Cassava Processors and Marketers Association (NCAPMA), the C:AVA II Nigeria Country Manager, Professor Lateef Sanni, said that he was enthusiastic and delighted at meeting with the new executives of AMBCN. The Don, who is also the Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC) of FUNAAB, added that one of the goals of C:AVA II Project was to facilitate the trade of bakers and confectioneries makers. He advised the newly-elected President of the Association to do more of regional activities that would facilitate trade and laudable achievements.

Speaking earlier, the C:AVA II Project Director, Professor Kolawole Adebayo, said that he was happy to be identified with the AMBCN, as he enumerated the regions where C:AVA II was operating, while assuring the AMBCN executives that much more could be done with cassava in Nigeria than other countries, for the fact that the country happened to be the largest producer of cassava in the world. He added that the inclusion of cassava flour in both bread and confectioneries had been proven to be more economical and profitable. Professor Adebayo, who doubles as the Director, Grants Management of the University, expressed the willingness of the C:AVA II Project, in conjunction with FUNAAB, to assist master bakers in enhancing the use of HQCF in the making of bread and other confectionery products as well as the provision of technical assistance.

Responding, the National President of AMBCN, Mr. Dominic Turi, thanked C:AVA II Project team for hosting the executives of AMBCN. He emphasised that the Association had achieved a lot through the support of the CAVA Project, such as in the training on HQCF inclusion in bread-making, as Mr. Turi reiterated that cassava bread had come to stay in Nigeria. At the meeting, the demonstration of 10 per cent HQCF inclusion in bread-making was held, at the FUNAAB Bakery.

 

FRSC Boss Commends FUNAAB

The Assistant Corps Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Williams Charles, has commended the University for its various achievements, saying that it had lived up to its name. Mr. Charles noted that the Directorate of Works and Services of the University, has promoted good maintenance culture “when it comes to the real safety equipments that are meant to be in vehicles, as well as keeping the vehicles in good shape”.


The FRSC boss, who recently visited the University alongside officers of the Commission, stressed that their mission was to carry out the Annual Inspection and Certification Programme in line with the National Road Traffic Regulation of 2012, as he disclosed that any government, private, religious or corporate organisation with a minimum of five vehicles, must register as a fleet operator in Nigeria. Explaining the rationale behind the registration as a fleet operator, he stated that “in registering as a fleet operator, it means you have keyed into the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme (RTSSS), which entails the following: an established safety unit that is manned by certified safety manager; possession of road-worthy vehicles that have met the Minimum Safety Standards; and trained drivers that are qualified and licensed to operate safely on the road.

He added that the purpose of the Annual Inspection and Certification Programme was to check if the fleet operators were meeting up with the safety standards stipulated by the RTSSS. According to him, “during the inspection, three things were inspected and certified: do the vehicles meet the minimum safety standard? Do the drivers meet the minimum safety standard? And does the operator meet the minimum standards for the vehicles and drivers, to optimally operate?

Shedding light on the activities of the Commission, he revealed that if an organisation does not meet the above-mentioned standards, going into enforcement should be the last step. “First of all, you need to enlighten and educate before enforcing”, he added.  Commenting on the stickers placed on the vehicles, he said that it implied that the vehicle had been inspected and met the minimum safety standard. He, however, said that if deficiencies were recorded in a vehicle, no sticker would be placed on it until it had met the right standard, as the sticker would last for a year.

On the certification of a car to be road-worthy, he disclosed that the task of testing the road worthiness of a car rests on the Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs), while the FRSC was concerned with issues of vehicles meeting the minimum safety requirements. He stated that the check-list goes as far as checking the floor of the vehicle to know if it is hazardous to the occupants and if the head-rest of the seats were adjustable or not. Other responsibilities include ensuring that vehicles had seatbelts, head/rear lights, wipers, tires, sound chassis and first-aid box, which were always missing from most of the vehicles.  He stressed that all roads in Nigeria were public roads used by road users such as animals, cyclists, pedestrians, motor-bike operators, among others.

 Enlightening the staff on what should be found in a first-aid box of a vehicle, Mr. Charles said that such requirements, based on the highway code, include: disinfectant, bandage, plaster and other materials that could be used before getting to a qualified doctor in case of an emergency, pointing out that reckless driving habits were common among some uniformed men and drivers of corporate organisations, whose vehicles often break the rule of illegal overtaking. “We exercise what we call preferential enforcement or Roll Call of Shame, whereby a marked vehicle driving against traffic would be shown. We also have flying ticket whereby we record the plate number, the day, time and route and this ticket (on University staff vehicles), which would be handed-over to the Vice-Chancellor, who would, in turn, handle the issue internally. Sometimes, to avoid fracas and endangering other road users, we let it go; to take administrative processes”.

On the Speed Limiting Device, he said that by law and under the National Road Traffic Law, all vehicles on Nigerian roads were supposed to be installed with the device, adding that the law had been on for a long time, but FRSC had not enforced it until now that the alarming rate of crashes were caused by over speeding, where lives were lost and the country was gradually losing people of the productive age. “So, as a responsible government, installing such devices has to be ensured and that currently, for the first phase of this exercise, it is limited to commercial vehicles and fleet operators and based on its success, it would be installed in more vehicles”, he stated.

He said further that FRSC had always sustained the vigorous and comprehensive public enlightenment and education programmes, using all forms of media, such as the social media, print media, television and radio regularly. He, therefore, gave kudos to such the public enlightenment efforts, which had made people to now know that tyres expire by encouraging motorists to try as much as possible to buy new tyres, adding that “at the end of the day, the time a brand new tyre would last for your vehicle takes a longer period than that of a used tire”.

Present at the meeting were the Chief Driver of the University, Mr. Haruna Adekunle; Senior Technical Officer, Works and Services, Mr. Bamidele Rasaq and the Deputy Route Commander, Mr. Dada Adeyemi. Others were the Assistant Route Commanders, Mr. Adigun Samuel; Mr. Aju Peter and Road Marshal I, Mr. Ajao Uthman. 

 

DAAD Scholarship for FUNAAB

The University has been selected by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the German Academic Exchange Service, as one of the universities eligible for the in-country and in-region scholarship programme in the West and Central African regions. 

According to the Director, Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE), Professor Okanlawon Onagbesan, with the award, the University would be eligible to host about 100 students from Nigeria and the region during the 2017-2019 Academic Years. The scholarship would be fully funded by DAAD to the tune of 100,000 Euro per student, per year. Out of the many applications, FUNAAB was chosen from 13 institutions following a thorough review by the selection committee, which was made up of university Professors and scientists.  

 

Call for Memorandum

The Governing Council, at its 91st Meeting, approved the constitution of a High-Powered Committee of the Governing Council to Investigate the Lingering Industrial Unrest and Tension  in the University. The Committee has the following as its terms of reference: to investigate and identify the remote and immediate causes of the unrest and tension in the University; to identify institutional and structural factors responsible for the unrest; to identify any other predisposing factors in the unrest; to recommend immediate measures for rectifying the current situation; to recommend lasting measures and strategies for conflict-resolution at the University; and to make other recommendations, which may be germane to the maintenance of order and good governance at the University. Consequently, members of the University community have been requested to forward memorandum that will assist the Committee in their assignment in a power-point (Bullet form) presentation to the Secretary of the Committee on or before Friday, January 6, 2017, at Room C206, Senate Building, FUNAAB. 

 

Farming, a Serious Business, Says Professor Adewumi

The practice of farming in the 21st Century has been described as a serious business that needs financial support, mechanised aid and requires the use of manpower under a comfortable atmosphere so as to thrive. This submission was made by Professor Kayode Adewumi, a Professor of Soil and Water Engineering and the Dean, College of Engineering (COLENG) of the University. Professor Adewumi said that presently, people were no longer interested in farming because nobody wants to bend their back tiling and clearing the soil. According to him, majority of people that have the money for farming would prefer to go into fishery, piggery and poultry farming which require less energy to carry out.

According to him, “Old farmers that we have today barely farm to sustain their families, people are not comfortable with the drudgery in the physical production of crops”. Based on this, he called on the government to open up large hectares of land in every geo-political zone and practice mechanised farming. This arrangement should be carried out in every local government, with required equipment, tractors, combine harvester among others and every year, monitor what every local government is producing. He charged the government, its agricultural agencies and individual farmers to be engaged and be committed to crop farming in order to get out of the problem of unforeseen poverty in the future.

While making reference to FUNAAB, he said the University had got everything to thrive on and be in the fore-front of crop production that should be able to feed Abeokuta and beyond, if money was made available to it. Sharing his research works and its benefit to the environment, Professor Adewumi said he had worked on the Drip Irrigation Project, a 3-year and N36 million project, funded by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), which is meant to conserve water for crop production.

He also revealed that under his supervision, irrigation software had been written in the name of FUNAAB, and is waiting to be patented such that any one that wishes to write or use it will get University’s permission. The Dean also said that a lot of research work had been done on FUNAAB soil, where it was discovered that the University soil is about 87 per cent sand, which led him and his team to carry out soil conservation in order to still keep it in good shape.


“We are hoping for FUNAAB dam, and this has led us to write proposals to the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for the establishment of a dam. If we have a dam, it will take care of irrigation and FUNAAB will be able to crop throughout the year, researches will thrive, students will benefit and the surrounding communities will be making booking ahead for farm produce with the University”, he said. In addition, he noted that building a dam is not a small project, saying a group of consultants had come to carry out survey on where to site the dam, while the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) would assist in presenting the project on behalf of the University.

Professor Adewumi said the University had made efforts within its powers to solving food problems. This, he said, informed Management’s decision in sponsoring delegates to the Republic of Benin to understudy a one-man farm that had become a source of tourist attraction to many, who often visited the country. The outcome of that visit, according to him, was that it transformed the Directorate of University Farms (DUFARMS) into a big office in FUNAAB. On returning, he said proposals were written and designs were made on how to extend more on what they saw, but the University was limited by funds. “If we had been able to execute the plan, the University would have been producing at larger quantities and supplying, but the little we could do is what we see in DUFARMS now”, he stated.

As a soil and water expert with penchant for irrigation for sustained cropping, he said the real farmers were those who engage in crop farming. He described the Nigeria land as a blessed one where irrigation can be practiced in any part of the country, drawing examples from the nation of Israel; Professor Adewumi said irrigation was their (Israelis) main source of livelihood, which they practiced successfully considering their type of land. He went further  r to stress that if irrigation was to be fully practiced in Nigeria, the divers nature of the country should be considered, as much money will be spent in the Southern part of the country for clearing before irrigation can be carried out unlike the North where less will be spent, considering the nature of the land.

As a way of helping the country to get out of food crisis in the nearest future, Professor Adewumi said the government should make agriculture its priority. According to him, “If agriculture is the priority of the leaders, something meaningful will be done. Everything depends on the individual that is there, to make it work at the end of the day”. He also frowned at what he described as the over-dependence on government for everything as it is obtainable in the country, noting that “The orientation they gave us in the country is that they have made us to be living on government”. Finally, he charged the government to empower the teeming youths to go into agriculture by providing the necessary mechanisation to work with.