The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Senator (Dr.) Heineken Lokpobiri, has charged agricultural research institutes in the country to commercialise their research and agricultural products to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and ensure sustainability of their operations.
The Minister gave this charge during his two-day facility tour of three research institutes namely, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS) and the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) located in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Kaduna State.
He said commercialization of the institutes had become imperative as government alone cannot continue to provide the required funding for the institutes and consequently urged the managements of the institutes to partner with donor agencies for funding support.
While noting that the institutes will not be able to maximise their potential with commercialising their operations, the minister commended them on the achievements they recorded despite their challenges over the years.
This is even as he canvassed the need for further investment in research and manpower development in order to enable the country become self-sufficient in food production.
The Minister assured the present administration’s commitment to revitalize the agricultural sector and support farmers through provision of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and farm implements including tractors.
The Executive Director, NAPRI, Prof. C. A. Mlakpini, who spoke on behalf of other Directors of the institutes, informed the Minister that plans were under way to partner with the private sector such as the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), UAC Foods and Alar Foods through the mobilization of clusters of farmers to drive the commercialization process.
As part of his itinerary, the minister visited the National Farmers Helpline Centre, Farm Broadcast, Printing Press and the Green House at NAERLS.
At NAPRI, he visited the Dairy, Poultry, Artificial Insemination Units and the Grass Forest, while at IAR, the minister inspected the Biotechnology Laboratory, Agriculture Mechanization Workshop and the Exhibition Hall.