The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, says the institution has the capacity to manage and participate in large-scale research and development projects.
The university, he also said, had contributed in lifting the nation’s agriculture to loftier heights.
The VC spoke during the project inauguration and business meeting of the Cassava: Adding Value to Africa II Project in Lagos.
Oyewole, who is also the President, Association of African Universities, noted that FUNAAB had specifically managed large, multi-country research and development projects, such as C:AVA I and C:AVA II.
He said, “The choice of Nigeria and a Nigerian institution to coordinate the C:AVA II project has been made easy by the recognition of the effort our country has made in the last few years of transforming our agriculture through the Agricultural Transformation Agenda. Also, the drive of a Cassava Transformation Agenda in particular has befitted the world’s leading nation in cassava production and consumption.”
Describing FUNAAB’s work in the cassava sector as historical, the VC noted that the university had worked in collaboration with leading institutions from across the world to develop the crop.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who inaugurated the C: AVA II project, described the cassava industry as a wealth and job creator that could turn around the nation’s economy.
Represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adetunji, the minister said the CTA, developed by the ministry, was targeted at commercialising the cassava industry in five different value-chains, in order to bring the crop to the global competitive level.
With an annual production of 40 million metric tonnes, representing 19 per cent of the world’s production, the minister said Nigeria is the largest producer of the crop in the world.
According to Adesina, Nigeria, being the leading producer, can use the platform to generate an estimated 1.3 million jobs among its people.
Meanwhile, Oyewole has reiterated the authorities’ commitment to promoting the welfare of members of staff of the university.
He gave the assurance at a workshop on Capacity Building on Investment of Pension Fund and Returns of Investment Portfolio in Badagry, Lagos.
He said, “Our university has continued to pay our pensioners on a regular basis as pensions are taken to various banks on or before the 21st of each month. The university is also up-to-date in the payment of various upward reviews of pension by the Federal Government to all our pensioners.”
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Prof. Felix Salako, represented the VC on the occasion.
The Chairman, Planning Committee of the workshop, Prof. Peter Okuneye said the workshop would enable the participants to better understand financial management and fund utilisation.
In a paper titled, Guidelines on Pension Fund Utilisation and Management, the Head, Research and Policy at the National Pension Commission, Abuja, Dr. Babatunde Alayande, described pension fund as a joint contribution by the employee and employer. (Punch)