FAO partners with LASU, gives $95,000 research grant

A United Nations agency, Food and Agricultural Organisation, has selected the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, as National Partner Institute (NPI) for the implementation of its Support for the Development of Farmed Catfish Value Chain (FISH4ACP) project in Nigeria.

The project will run concurrently for four years beginning this year alongside other researches from nine other African-Caribbean-Pacific countries.

LASU was selected by the world agency after adjudging its proposal as the best from Nigerian universities. By this development, the university won a partial grant of up to $95,000 (about N37.05 million) for the initial phase of the project.

The leader of the team, Professor Shehu Akintola from the Department of Fisheries of the university, told Tribune Education in an exclusive interview that the project is aimed at coming up with workable solutions that would assist national policies towards effective value chain in catfish industry.

He noted that Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in Africa and the second in aquaculture (after Egypt), but successive governments in Nigeria have not been able to accord it a significant attention.

Professor Akintola said the news of winning the project, which is being supported by the European Union, was conveyed to the university by the FAO.

Akintola, who is also the leader of the Nigerian research team who recently won $2,496,128 million grant jointly with colleagues from some foreign universities, including University of Waterloo, Canada and some non-governmental organisations, said the raging global coronavirus pandemic and resultant travel restrictions had altered the initial arrangement of the project.

“Due to COVID-19 pandemic, our team under this FISH4ACP project, like our counterparts in other nine countries, will now compress our project activities into three phases instead of six phases earlier announced by the FAO but without losing initial delivery focus,” he said.

Other team members from the university, according to him, include Dr Kafayat Fakoya, also from the same department; Dr Sherifat Yusuf from Sociology Department; Dr Zakariya Amoo, Mr Olusola Olabanjo as well as Yusuf Olabisi.

Earlier in a statement by the university’s spokesman, Mr Ademola Adekoya, the vice chancellor of the university, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, had commended the scholars for winning the grant and urged them to optimally utilise it to solve identified problems.

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