IAR&T reiterates commitment to improving research on mandate crops



 The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has reaffirmed its commitment to improving research on mandate crops in 2020.

Prof. Veronica Obatolu, the Executive Director of the institute gave the assurance in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Ibadan.

She said it planned to work toward the completion of the prototype processing plant for processing kenaf fibre (one of its mandate crops) into yarns and other products.

Obatolu said that it would conduct more training for farmers, youths, and strengthen linkage with entrepreneurs, other stakeholders for investment in kenaf fibre processing to market for it.

According to her, the institute will work toward the perfection and activation of an effective warning system on the menace of Fall Army worm infestation on maize farms.

“On livestock, we plan for expansion of training and distribution of semen/improved breeds of pig to more farmers; conduct more training programmes for stakeholders.

“On soil, there will be conduct of soil survey to cover more LGAs across agro-ecological zones, launching of soil portal, sensitisation workshops on the use of the portal across agro-ecological zones.

“On value addition of commodities, we plan for establishment of quality control lab and product packaging workshop; expansion of training to more youths and young entrepreneurs on export.

“We had challenges including lack of timely release of funds in 2019, which hindered progress of research.

“But if we have adequate funds in time and support of relevant stakeholders, we shall achieve our goal this year by His grace,” she said.

In 2019, Obatolu said that the institute developed hybrid maize varieties such as Ife Maize Hyb-1, Hyb-2 to Ife Maize Hyb-9, with potential for greater yield and increased competitiveness of the Nigerian maize industry.

On livestock, she said that breeding activities for upgrading of Fulani ecotype for generation of hybrids F1 generation was developed while there is need to develop F2 generation from the process.

“There were distribution of semen of improved breeds and artificial insemination for upgrade of local stocks, distribution of the improved breeds and capacity building on artificial insemination to farmers.

“On value addition, we have development of products from underutilised legumes with high commercialisation potential.

“There were training of farmers, extension agents on management of fall army worm on maize fields, training on sustainable soil and water management for food security, among others were all carried out in 2019,” she said.

NAN reports that IAR&T has the mandate to conduct research into efficient use and management of soil resources for increased, sustainable agricultural productivity.

It also conducts research into genetic improvement of maize, grain legumes as well as trypanotolerant live livestock for south west ecologies, among others.

Edited by: Vivian Ihechu/Grace Yussuf

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