Don Advocates Indigenous Plant Breeding Rescue Agenda

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By Funmi Ojo

A Professor of Plant Breeding and Crop Production at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan, Professor Victor Olawale Adetimirin has recommended the setting up of a Plant Breeding Rescue Agenda 2050 for Nigeria.

This, he said, would address the development of improved varieties of food, feed, and fibre crops in a holistic manner that is One-Health oriented.

He made the recommendation while delivering the 541st Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ibadan on behalf of the Faculty of Agriculture.

Professor Adetimirin said the conception, implementation, and delivery of the agenda must have a strong Agricultural Extension component from the beginning to the end.

He stressed that the agenda must be a Nigeria-for-Nigeria agenda, driven by Nigeria and fully funded by Nigeria, a demonstration that Nigeria is ready to change her narrative positively among the comity of nations.

Professor Adetimirin argued that Nigeria’s Plant Breeding Rescue Agenda 2050 can not be funded by countries that Nigeria is struggling to liberate herself from.

He said the Agenda must not be the usual Nigerian thing! It must be free from Nigeria’s politics, her shenanigans, and corrupt practices.

Professor Adetimirin said the agenda must have a zero budget for international trips as the expertise required to deliver it is within the shores of Nigeria.

He said that beyond addressing One Health issues holistically, Agenda 2050 is proposed as an economic emancipation agenda that will not only ensure that Nigeria relocates all jobs associated with seed production of all crops to Nigeria, but also ensure that the billions of naira realised from the sale of seeds remain in Nigeria.

The inaugural Lecturer also called on the government to support relevant researchers and research institutions in Nigeria to develop improved varieties of all vegetable crops comparable in agronomic and consumer- preferred traits to arrest the importation of seeds of vegetable crops into Nigeria.

He submitted further that no nation can be food secure without being seed secure. To this end, Professor Adetimirin said seed companies in Nigeria need to be given incentives to go into vegetable seed production of developed improved varieties to stop the uncontrolled influx of imported vegetable seeds into Nigeria.

Professor Adetimirin has been involved in addressing important constraints to Crop Production; started the first Breeding programme on supersweet maize in West Africa; and had led initiatives to unravel the other complex factors influencing seed emergence and seed longevity.

The lecture was entitled “Black Pot, White Gruel,” an allegory and expression of hope that out of the Black Pots of the nation, Federal Universities in Nigeria and the University of Ibadan, White Gruel will still emerge.

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