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W/Africa Agric Programme threatens to stop funding Nigerian institutions

By Eric Ojo

agricThe West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP-Nigeria) has threatened that it will no longer give out money to research institutes and organisations in Nigeria that are always
embarking on strike.

The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) is a five-year program initiated by ECOWAS and funded largely by the World Bank. The goal of WAAPP is to make agriculture more productive and sustainable while promoting regional integration. Specifically, it provides a sub-regional framework on which the ECOWAS countries collaborate to develop agricultural strategies, national and regional, for the generation, dissemination and adoption of technologies considered as priority commodities to the implementing countries.

WAAPP-Nigeria noted with dismay the fiscal problems created by non-retirement of fund advanced to the various research institutions due to some recent strike actions embarked upon by such the organisations, particularly domiciled in the universities campuses.

The National Project Coordinator, WAAPP-Nigeria, Prof. Damian Okey Chikwendu who gave the warning at a meeting he held with Coordinators of Adopted Villages from all the agricultural research institutes and Colleges of Agriculture in Abuja, said any institution that fails to retire any fund advanced at the right time, would be blacklisted and compelled to refund the amount advanced.

Prof. Chikwendu also reminded the Coordinators of the Adopted Villages that every project they embark upon must have an environmental focal point person attached to it. This, according to him, is to ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are built into the project to avoid running foul of World Bank directives and ideals.

He further explained that through the Adopted Villages and the Agricultural Research Outreach Centres (AROCs) the Coordinator were expected to reach a minimum of 10,000 farming families in
their vicinities.

“They are particularly required to note the performance indicators as part of their success stories. Such indicators, he said include the number of people that are adopting the technologies as well as those taking to farming as a result of the new technologies”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Adopted Villages and AROCs are located respectively in the immediate localities and in the secondary schools in the neighbourhood of the Research Institutes, all within 20 kilometre radius of the Institutes.

He also disclosed that that WAAPP is currently expanding the idea of disseminating improved agricultural technologies through some pilot universities in the country. The institutions he said, include; Bayero University Kano, Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Federal University of Technology Yola, UNIAGRIC Makurdi, University of Ilorin, Federal University of Technology, Minna, University of Abuja, FUNNAB Abeaokuta, FUT Akure, University of Nigeria, Nsuka, University of Calabar, and the University of Uyo.

The National Project Coodinator also revealed that WAAPP-Nigeria will be hosting an International Research Fair in November this year in Abuja, fair will feature all the Agricultural Research Institutes and Colleges of Agriculture in the Country displaying series of latest agricultural technologies they have generated of late, some of which he said have remained largely on the shelf
until now.

Prof. Chikwendu said arrangements were already on for the participation of all the 15 WAAPP member countries of the West Africa Sub-Region, in the regional Research Fair, adding that Nigerian universities would however not be part of the November Fair as they are only just coming on board. He equally expressed optimism that with the on-going collaboration between WAAPP and some selected Nigerian universities, they would soon start  generating technologies which could feature at subsequent

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