Institute reiterates commitment to improving research

The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Oyo State, has reaffirmed its commitment to improving research on mandate crops in 2020.

Giving the assurance in Ibadan, the institute’s Executive Director, Prof. Veronica Obatolu, said it planned to complete the prototype processing plant for processing kenaf fibre (one of its mandate crops) into yarns and other products.

Obatolu said the institute will conduct more training for farmers, youths, and strengthen linkage with entrepreneurs and other stakeholders for investment in kenaf fibre processing to market for it.

According to her, the institute will work towards the perfection and activation of an effective warning system on the menace of Fall Army worm infestation on maize farms.“On livestock, we plan for expansion of training and distribution of semen/improved breeds of pig to more farmers; conduct more training programmes for stakeholders.

“On soil, there will be conduct of soil survey to cover more local governments across agro-ecological zones, launching of soil portal,  workshops on the use of the portal across agro-ecological zones,” Obatolu said.

On value addition of commodities, the IAR&T chief said the institute plans to establish quality control lab and product packaging workshop; expand training to more youths and young entrepreneurs on export.

Obatolu, however, said the institute had challenges, including lack of timely release of funds last year, which hindered research.“But, if we have adequate funds in time and support of relevant stakeholders, we shall achieve our goal this year by His grace,” she said.

 Last year, Obatolu said the institute developed hybrid maize varieties, such as Ife Maize Hyb-1, Hyb-2 to Ife Maize Hyb-9, with potential for greater yield and increased competitiveness in the maize industry.

On livestock, she said breeding  for upgrading of Fulani ecotype for generation of hybrids F1 was developed while there is need to develop F2 generation from the process.“There were distribution of se-men of improved breeds and artificial insemination for upgrade of local stocks, distribution of the improved breeds and capacity building on artificial insemination to farmers.”

“On value addition, we have development of products from under-utilised legumes with high commercialisation potential.“There were training of farmers, extension agents on management of fall army worm on maize fields, training on sustainable soil and water management for food security, among others were all carried out in 2019,” she said.

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