The Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin, Kwara State, has said the country’s agriculture research sector loses approximately $100m yearly due to its failure to attract grants from local and foreign organizations.
Speaking at the opening of weeklong training workshop on grantsmanship for agricultural research officers by the Institute in Ilorin, its Executive Director, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, said Nigeria needs agric research to improve food production and reduce shortages.
According to the ARMTI boss, “Nigeria is not losing anything below a 100 million dollars grant every year due to inability to attract both local and foreign grants.
“We can only imagine what that can do in the research system only in agriculture. When you extend this and look at value chain for research, there are lots to gain by research scientists among other actors along the research value chain that are losing this opportunity.
“For instance, in soya beans production, the highest you can have as output per hectare today is 1.3 tonnes as against 10 tonnes per hectare in some other climes.
“You can see the enormity of what we’re saying. We need to improve the tonnes of food we produce in this country to reduce food shortages, poverty and increase employment within the system.
“It’s only when you have right varieties of commodities cutting across livestock, fisheries and crop production that you can get some of these things done,” he noted.
He said “Grantsmanship; getting fund is not what government alone can do. There are some foundations all over, even outside Nigeria who are ready to give out fund to get these things done but we are not getting it because we don’t have fund-able research proposals around.”
He said the essence of having research institutes and faculties of agriculture in tertiary institutions is beyond agric research alone, adding that every participant must get involved.
50 participants drawn from across research institutes in the country are participating in the programme.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Dr. Ishaku Leo Elisha from Vom, Plateau State, said they would collaborate through networking among themselves to spread the knowledge garnered during the programme towards making the training worthwhile.