Ogbeh Tasks Agric Researchers On Increasing Food Production
• Resolve Labour Issues, Not Lock Outs
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said the challenge of feeding the nation’s population with a higher growth rate than that at which food is produced calls for agricultural researchers to rise up to the occasion.
The burden is not made easier when “18 million children in primary schools and 12 million children in secondary schools “ would require a lot of food that need to be produced locally.
He made this known at the Nigerian Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, while commissioning a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory.
Ogbeh said focus on feeding the nation would be more profitable than labour unions of agricultural research institutes using lockouts to address conflicts.
The minister, who expressed his displeasure at such a street-approach, said there are too many crises in the research institutes under his ministry.
Chief Ogbeh made reference to a particular research institution, where a lockout demonstration was embarked upon, leading to the wilting of “precious plants and seedlings meant for farmers” because there was no watering.
Lamenting the losses caused by the demonstrating scientists, the minister advised the researchers to separate science from sentiments so as to get desired results.
He implored the scientists to concentrate on research, and assured that his ministry will, as much as possible, not let funds be a problem, to give the scientists the deserved priority.
The minister said the “production of food is lagging behind population growth.” Although he conceded that “the figures we have may not be accurate,” he, nonetheless, stressed that it was enormous, saying that “18 million children in primary schools and 12 million children in secondary schools “ would require a lot of food that need to be produced locally, a big challenges for the research community.
“If we give a pint of milk a day to each, we will need 30 million pints of milk a day, while for egg, it would require 30 million eggs daily,” the minister noted. He charged the scientists to help find ways of overcoming low agricultural output in the nation.
He said research must not be interrupted, as it is a matter of national priority.
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