From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Mohammed Nanono, has commissioned a multi-million Naira research and training farm at Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Bayero University, Kano (BUK), seeking for collaboration with the Centre to boost agricultural development in the country.
The AUTHORITY reports that the farm, which is about 22 hectare, is designed for all year round farming.
Our Correspondent observed that it is obviously the biggest and first of its kind in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, fully equipped with facilities for drip and sprinkler irrigation, fertigation, infield and controlled environment crop production.
While commissioning the gigantic project, Nanono called for the CDA’s support to collaborate with the Federal Government and other institutions to boost food production in the country.
He congratulated BUK for establishing one of the best, modern and biggest research farms in Nigeria.
According to him, the Federal Government was aware of the CDA’s achievements as one of the most performing centres in Africa, noting that, such feat wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the University Management.
He called for further collaboration between BUK and his ministry to build human capacity in land and water management to help combat the challenges of climate change and its effect on productivity.
Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who formally launched the CDA’s Africa Centres of Excellence Impact Project, congratulated BUK and the CDA for winning the World Bank’s $5m ACE Impact grant.
Represented by the Director Public Affairs in the National Universities Commission (NUC), Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Yakasai, the Minister said BUK has achieved significant milestone in addressing some of the key challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa through the CDA.
In his remarks, the ACE National Coordinator, Dr. Joshua Attah, stated that the ACE project was initiated to promote regional specialization among universities in the participating West and Central African countries, pointing out that the aim is to strengthen high quality training and applied research.
He said CDA is not just a BUK project but a regional project helping to address common regional challenges.
He enumerated a number of successes recorded by CDA to include enrollment of international students from 11 countries, winning additional grant of $5m from World Bank, collaborating with many national and international organizations, generating over N150m on its own and proving to be one of the top performing centres in Africa.
BUK’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, said the CDA through its activities is contributing significantly to national security, by addressing challenges of unemployment, food production, wealth creation and poverty alleviation.
Presenting his welcome remarks, the Director, CDA, Professor Jibrin M. Jibrin highlighted the achievements of the centre since inception in 2012, saying that the Centre has metamorphosed to become a regional Africa Centre of Excellence.
He said the resources and facilities in the CDA could be harnessed to strongly support the Federal Government’s efforts towards improving agricultural productivity and diversifying the economy.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello said he was highly impressed with the Minister of Agriculture’s visit to launch the farm as well as his laudable support and contributions.
He emphasized that the CDA would continue to build the capacity of people to contribute to the manpower development.
Other highlights of the ceremony include the official commissioning of laboratory facilities of CDA, and goodwill messages by CDA’s key partners across the globe.