Research works on cocoa, livestock, others already in farms ― ARCN

The Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof Garba Sharubutu has said that the various research works in the various Agriculture Research Institutes have been put in use in farms.

Speaking while presenting his Scorecard to the Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ACAN) in Abuja, Prof Sharubutu said off-takers were yet to buy those research works which has been the major problem the research institutes are facing.

He said the research institutes cannot continue to develop, and nobody comes forward to off-take them. “There is a lot of competition between quick yielding trade and agricultural and unless we begin to look at agriculture as short and long term, we will never be able to get it right.”

Prof Sharubutu further stated that efforts were also being made by the Council to introduce internship in the various colleges of agriculture in order to equip and train the graduates on the rudiments of the sector.

For Cocoa, Prof Sharubutu said the government released fund tp the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN) to develop new varieties of the crop.

“Cocoa has been a crop of concern to the Minister, when we went to brief the minister over the issue of cocoa research, his first challenge to us there is some of the best breeders we have in this country are Yoruba, Cocoa is a Yoruba crop, how come the best brains are now allowing the best product to be taken over by Ivory Coast.

“Just last week, the Executive Director of Cocoa Research Institute was given a grant. The government has given a grant to develop Cocoa, and that was out of the observation that was raised”, he said.

For livestock, the ARCN boss said National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) has been making efforts to improve the milk and meat output of cattle, but it has been faced with the challenge of getting the animals in one place.

“The research we are sponsoring right now, we are trying to improve on the milk production. The problem is that NAPRI attempted to do artificial insemination in order to improve the genetic material of our breeds in order to have higher yielding milk as well as high-yielding meat.

“What is the problem?, Artificial insemination has to do with getting the animals to stay in one place because you cannot artificially inseminate an animal that is hungry.

“So, you put them in one place, you flush them, when they come on heat, you inseminate them.

“Getting our people to stay in one place is a problem. What is our solution to it? We have keyed into the National Livestock Transformation Program (NLTP), and this is the best way to go, ban grazing in terms of moving from one place to the other, and locate them (livestock),” he explained.

Speaking on the Colleges of Agriculture, he said he had sent a proposal to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to approve the establishment of internship in all the colleges to serve as training centre for Agriculture graduates.

“I have under my purview 11 colleges of agriculture, and let us assume that these 11 colleges of Agriculture are producing 20 HND holders, so we’re going to have 220, now you have 220 farmers every year in this country, it is going to impact seriously.

“But the total number of Colleges of Agriculture we have in this country is 52 so if each of them produces 20 HND holders, what are we doing with this 20?

“By our own analysis, we have found out that less than 30% of them go into agriculture.

“We have written a proposal, right now the proposal is on the table of the Minister. We create entrepreneurship centres in all our colleges of agriculture, that will serve as internship, let the graduates of agriculture go there and learn the trade

“So the proposal is there, we are trying to see how we would do in order to encourage people to go into Agriculture, and internship is the best method for us,” he added.

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