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Lack of Local Ag Research Blamed on Big Business

by 5m Editor
20 February 2009, at 9:11am

NIGERIA - The Nigerian chapter of the World Poultry Science Association (WPSA) has criticised the attitude of the rich and corporate organisations in the country towards the funding of agricultural research.

The WPSA believes that the fortunes of the agricultural sector would have been greatly enhanced if more attention was paid to research in the same measure as to sports, according to an article in Punch of Nigeria.

The National President WPSA, Professor Daisy Eruvbetine, who is also the Dean, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, made the submission at a press conference in Abeokuta on Wednesday.

She said the press conference was to herald the Third Nigeria International Poultry Summit, with the theme, 'Poultry Industry in West Africa: Towards the Millennium Development Goals,' to be held in Abeokuta next week.

Professor Eruvbetine identified under-funding of research findings and lack of sponsors as the bane of agricultural development in Nigeria, saying these had badly affected farmers and their output.

She said, "What multinationals and corporate bodies have on their priority lists are football and marathon. Banks have closed their doors due to the economic recession.

"Funding has become a major problem for us. Apart from this another major problem in the poultry business is the production of livestock feeds as corn is becoming a scarce commodity due to biofuel.

"We need money for research and the problem here is that the farmers are badly affected as a result."

The representative of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Professor Okanlawon Onagbesan, lamented that Nigerians would find it difficult to realise massive production of food without adequate research funding.

He said, "It is a pity that research means nothing to Nigerians. People want food and agricultural produce but organisations do not want to put money into agriculture.

"The organisations are only interested in making profit. All telecoms facilities we have in the country were imported. How much have telecoms companies put into research to develop these facilities in this country?"