Hon. Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh arrived the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State on Friday, January 19, 2018 on a 2-Day working visit to the three Agricultural Research Institutes situated in the Agricultural Complex of the University.
The three research institutes visited by the Hon. Minister were: Institute for Agricultural Research – IAR; National Animal Production Research Institute – NAPRI and the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services – NAERLS.
The visit was to have first-hand understanding of programmes at the institutes; learn about the challenges they face; undertake a facility tour of programmes and projects with a view to getting the institutes more involved in providing solutions to research-related agricultural problems. The visit was also to identify areas of challenge and effecting necessary improvements on Agricultural research in Nigeria.
During the visit, the Hon. Minister flagged off the nationwide distribution of Motorcycles to Extension Agents in the 37 ADPs in the country, to ease the mobility of Extension Officers and improve access to farmers; and also launched the National Farmers Helpline Centre, a project of the Federal Department of Extension Services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria. The National Farmers Helpline Centre is designed to provide information to farmers in all areas of agriculture, bridge knowledge gaps amongst farmers with encompassing experience in extension services, respond to complaints, enquiries and provide feedback. Other facility tours embarked upon by the Minister included the NAERLS Farm Broadcast and Printing Press Units.
Concluding his working visit on Day Two, Chief Audu Ogbeh visited the National Sugar Development Council where he was guided on a tour of Sugarcane plant tissue culture and multiplication laboratories. The Minister also toured the Institute for Agricultural Research Exhibition Hall, Samaru and inspected ongoing programmes on mechanization research, extension services, artemisia research, irrigation & farming systems, technology/biotechnology research, cereals research etc. Ongoing crop development programmes of the institutes include production of improved varieties of foundation seeds for maize, sorghum, cowpea, groundnut, cotton, sunflower and soybean. At the National Animal Production Research Institute – NAPRI, the Hon. Minister inspected the Forage Seeds Field and Stores, Dairy Production factory, Cattle and small ruminants breeding facility etc.
In a meeting with Management and Staff of the Institutes, ABU Vice Chancellor – Prof. Ibrahim Garba represented by DVC, Admin – Prof. Kabiru Bala and Heads of the research institutes made presentations on their activities, prospects and challenges. Chief Audu Ogbeh thanked the institutes for their enormous contributions to national development and for staying faithful to their calling inspite of difficulties faced, pledging to address the challenges presented.