Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, has appealed to the Federal Government to assist the University in strengthening its agricultural programmes.
He made the appeal when he led a delegation of the University management on a visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, in Abuja.
Na’Allah, who said this in a statement signed by the institutions’ Head, Information and University Relations, Dr Habib Yakoob, noted that the country could be self-sufficient only through the agricultural sector.
“We are very proud of our programme on agriculture, and we are moving towards making it world-class.
“Agriculture, as we are very much aware, is our best bet to make the nation productive and self-reliant.
“The university for instance, has 11,000 hectares of arable land; and our strategy is to use part of this land for development of agriculture, provide for the Nigerian markets, export and consumption.
“Recently, the ministry has provided resources for incubation centre, but this is awaiting construction; I understand that an agro-forestry project established on 15 acres land has been abandoned and we need your help to revitalise for climate change adaptation and sign agreement and implement it,” he said.
The vice-chancellor also appealed to the government to provide it with modern tools for use by the students, adding that the university had ensured that students, irrespective of their discipline, engage in farming activities.
“This will make them productive, thus reducing unemployment in the country,” he said.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mohammed Nanono appreciated the team for their visit, while assuring them of the ministry’s readiness to support the agricultural programmes of the university.
“The ministry needs research for instance, because there can be no meaningful development in our sector without research, and the university is well positioned to carry that out.
“We will incorporate the university, and work together for the good of this nation,” he said.
The minister said that agriculture was becoming the most reliable source of revenue generation for many countries, including Nigeria, and that anyone who failed to promote and sustain it would have missed a lot.
He, however, stated that the government was working very hard to empower farmers and create an atmosphere conductive for the development of the sector.