The Federal Government, through Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has directed federal colleges of agriculture to intensify vocational and skills acquisition training for enhanced food production and national food security.
This directive, conveyed in Abuja during a meeting with executive directors of National Agricultural Research Institutes, provosts of Federal Colleges of Agriculture, and directors of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, emphasizes a shift towards practical training over theory.
Represented by Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr Aliyu Sabi Abduallahi, Senator Kyari urged a focus on practicals to provide beneficiaries with hands-on knowledge of agricultural businesses. Additionally, the minister tasked the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) to collaborate with key stakeholders in the agricultural education sub-sector to implement the directive effectively.
Furthermore, the directive encourages the utilization of available lands within various agricultural research and training institutions for agricultural production. Senator Kyari reiterated the earlier directive to channel available lands towards this purpose, emphasizing the initiative’s goal of promoting food production in the country.
Highlighting the significance of agricultural research, the minister stressed its pivotal role in driving agricultural transformation, citing agriculture as a crucial sector for economic development. He expressed the ministry’s priority to reposition the National Agricultural Research System for greater productivity.
Senator Kyari explained the Federal Government’s insistence on implementing the ARCN Act, citing amendments that facilitate efficient management of research and training. The amended Act includes provisions for establishing spin-off companies to commercialize research products and innovations generated by institutions. The minister urged strengthening this platform to increase internally generated revenue, supporting research, training, and extension activities.
Furthermore, the Executive Secretary of ARCN, Professor Garba Sharubutu, commended the minister’s contributions and highlighted the meeting’s focus on deliberating the amended ARCN Act’s content. Discussions also covered issues such as revenue generation, a performance-based evaluation system, and the restructuring of ARCN.