Leading agricultural institution in the country, Federal College of Agriculture, Akure (FECA), has urged investors to utilise the newly introduced value chain curriculum to help the country exit from economic recession.
The Provost of the College, Dr. Samson Odedina, made the appeal at the weekend during the bi-monthly business forum in partnership with HarvestPlus Nigeria at the campus.
According to him, the inclusion of value chain activities of production, processing, value addition, marketing and consumption into the National Diploma and National Higher Diploma programmes in agricultural disciplines will maximise profits in the sector.
He said: “The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) approved the curriculum the College jointly facilitates with six other Nigerian institutions under our partnership with the Switzerland Government Capacity Building for Agricultural Education (CBAEN) Project.
“This curriculum, developed based on our experience, will now be used in colleges of agriculture and polytechnics across Nigeria; and to help raise future generations of successful farmers,” he said.
Odedina disclosed that the practice of value chain system in the College for the past two years has abolished the conventional rigours of education, which often times churn out graduates that are non-functional in the labour market.
Based on FECA experience, which is the pioneer of bio-fortified Vitamin A cassava and maize in Nigeria, he added that the students are guided to utilise over 15 value chain opportunities in each of the products.
Consequent upon this, the Provost, who noted that there are five value chain Switzerland certified experts among his staff, mentioned that there are more than 20 franchise requests all over the country to sell their bio-fortified products.
“Demand has been created and cannot be met by staff and students of the college alone. Investors can leverage on business opportunities and fill the gap for other opportunities for input and logistics support for these services.
“In Ondo State and environs, existing request for stems amount over 20,000 bundles; 10 tons of garri per week and five tons of fufu per week,” he said. Odedina urged government, organisations and investors to avail themselves the technical support and “training for profit,” which he said is the mandate of the college to create employments and save the nation from economic crunch.
His words: “The solution to diversification and profitable agribusiness is not in Germany, Israel or Casablanca. These far places rely on us for understanding and solution to emerging value chain job opportunities.”
The Director of Food and Nutrition Department, Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning, Dr. Roseline Gabriel, noted that the new development would help solve the alarming rate of malnutrition in Nigeria.
Gabriel, who attributed the high rate of stunting, wasting and underweight to poor nutrition, however said the value chain would not only help to produce food in abundance but also nutritious food that will raise healthy people.