Wednesday, 20 March 2013

‘RUSUT Has Made Available Global Information Infrastructure To Promote Agriculture In The State’ – Prof. Fakae

Hon Emma Chindah (right) with Prof. B.B. Fakae, Vice Chancellor, (RSUST)
The state of agriculture in Rivers State will be greatly improved because of the input which the state government has put in place establishing Songhai Centre, Fish Farms, Banana Plantation and revival of the Risonpalm amongst others.

The state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who made the statement, added that agriculture could not be separated from the state’s overall development plan as the sector is being developed to equally stimulate the state's economy.

The governor, represented by Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Emma Chinda, said this during the 38th annual Conference and 40th Anniversary of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production (NSAP), with the theme “Animal Agriculture:  A Tool for Sustainable Economic Transformation”, at the Amphitheatre of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt.

He said, “We are happy to share with you some of our strides in the area of economic development which agriculture cannot be removed from.  We believe that we can develop infrastructure to the best that we can and to the best that we think we can stimulate our economy.”

Continuing, he said, “We believe that the Songhai centre is capable of revolutionizing agriculture especially when it has to do with the small scale farmers.  I want to implore you and then urge the Vice Chancellor of RSUST to try and take you to the Songhai Centre so that you see what Rivers State Government is doing and how we can look at agriculture in practical terms and how we think that by working with agriculture we can indeed develop the economy of the state. Apart from the Songhai Centre we are also doing a lot in the area of fish farms.  This is to increase fish supply.”

According to him, he added that the state government had entered into partnership with private investors to start an abattoir project in the state.

The governor therefore urged members of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production to look towards practical ways of creating sustainable development in animal production.

The President of the NSAP, Prof. C.F.I. Onwuka, in his address, stressed the need for the federal government to enforce regulations guiding food importation into the country to help rekindle local livestock and meat producing industries in Nigeria.   

He also urged the Federal Government to promote research and education towards making Nigeria become self-sufficient in food production.
“The world population reached seven billion recently and global projections suggest 9 billion people by 2050 – an astronomical number that will double the need for food and increase competition for limited resources.  That competition combined with climate change, loss of biodiversity and degradation of resources will be juxtaposed against the survival of the planet itself.  Research undoubtedly has a key role to play in mitigating effects of all these on the populace and environment. As a consequence, public investment in research and education is now more critical than ever.  The food security front demands a frontal and focused approach towards agricultural growth”, Prof. Onwuka noted.

Addressing the governor representative, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Chris Oboh, who was also represented by Dr Christie Atako, Oboh noted that animal agriculture could sustainably transform Nigeria’s economy and could develop in rural communities across the country. 

He encouraged commercialization of animal agriculture needs improved infrastructure, which he said would, “invariably develop the rural communities and tremendously reduce rural-urban drift because well-paid jobs will be available in the rural communities.”

The host and Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Prof. B. B. Fakae, in his comment informed the NSAP that the university had made available Information Communication Technology facilities for the Society to ensure the NSAP stays in touch with global information infrastructure.

“Our University is a home to a number of active professional bodies and we believe that ICT plays an integral role in this.  As part of the present administrations quest to improve the standard of education in Rivers State, Niger Delta and the Country at large, the University embarked on the deployment of ICT tools to help the university spearhead the new face of education in the country,” Fakae said. 

“Being the first University of Science and Technology in the country,” Fakae continued, “it is not a misfit for the Rivers State University of Science and Technology to champion the cause of educational and human capital development through the use of modern day cutting edge technology.  We have therefore made facilities in our ICT Centre available to NSAP to ensure that you remain in touch with the global information infrastructure”.

Prof. Fakae disclosed that the Rivers State University had partnered with the Rivers State Government on research in animal science, and promised that the university would continue to support the NSAP and animal production.

“The theme for this conference ‘Animal Agriculture: A Tool for Sustainable Economic Transformation’ is most appropriate,” he added.

“Availability of animal protein remains one of the major makers of the level of agricultural development judging from its prime place in our diet.  It is the recognition of this that this university in recent time has partnered with the Government of Rivers State to provide a conducive environment for research in animal science hence the recent facelift of Animal Science Laboratories and the University Agriculture Farm.  It is my hope that our university shall continue to support NSAP and animal production in the future”, Prof. Fakae ended.

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