In this brief interview, the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Prof. Felix Kolawole Salako told MICHAEL-AZEEZ OGUNSIJI on the plans of the institution to expand the scope of the university beyond academic research, but to become food basket of the nation.
The Vice-Chancellor also spoke on the readiness of the university to partner with the Nigeria Police Force. The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu had told the Vice-Chancellor that, the Police Cooperative would link up with the institution to for supply of the farm produce coming out from the University. Please enjoy.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has given an hope that the police will partner FUNAAB towards promoting agricultural products coming from the University, what’s the next step?
VC: The issue is that, since I came on board, we make it a point to improve on our productive level in terms of raw production on the farm and the process of value addition products from the factories that we have like the cassava factory that we have. We increased the capacity in November, 2017 and we have been doing better from different products coming from cassava.
We have also increased the capacity of our bakery, in FUNAAB, we produce bread too. We were major advocate of cassava bread but the federal government decided not to go into full fledged, we are going to get back to that with the scientists or researchers in FUNAAB in improving on what we are producing, but our bakery has improved and also the capacity to have the confectioneries that will be linked with our farm products with the kind of bakery facility that we have.
So, we are ready to provide each product the market needed, I must not however give the impression that we are going to get to the level of big companies like Nestle and the rest of them. We still have a responsibility as academic institution to focus on our mandate of teaching research and community development. But we shall produce to the point that, we train students and we shall be able to make some money from our products.
If you look at the statement of IGP critically, it’s like telling us that, the Force will champion the cause of buying made in Nigeria products, are you saying you will be the pacesseter in this direction?
We are already the pacesseter, because we have the capacity. One advantage that we have in terms of the quality graduates. When we produce learned people going into agriculture, we have already set the pace for Nigeria. And I want to tell you that, we have our graduates performing excellently in the field of agriculture. Agriculture should not be seen as planting maize and eating, it should be seen in the whole context of business. And along the chain of agriculture too, we have other discipline that must come in, like the information technology experts. So, the issue of agriculture we must look at it holistically that agriculture is life.
We’re going to improve on the IGP’s statement in partnering with us.