The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP-Nigeria) will collaborate with the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, to resuscitate of the moribund pioneer seed centre at the institution.
The National Project Coordinator of WAAP-Nigeria, Prof. Damian Chikwendu, made this pledge in Makurdi recently while on a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Emmanuel Kucha.
Chikwendu, who was at the university following a proposal he received from the authorities on the need to assist in the revival of the project, noted that the pioneer seed centre was set up to provide a centre of excellence for the production and training of seed officers on seed multiplication.
The project, he stressed, commenced in 1998, but was stalled due to obsolete nature of the equipment that were installed.
Expressing the readiness of WAAPP to collaborate with the institution in the project, Chikwendu said, “We have received your proposal and we are here to see the seed complex and comprehend the efforts you are making, as well as note the areas of collaboration.”
WAAPP’s interest in the enterprise, he declared, was mainly in the area of training on seed production and research at the seed centre.
The centre, when fully rehabilitated, he observed, would become a reference point for seed multiplication in the West African sub-region.
He noted the initial remarkable efforts of the university in the execution of WAAPP-assisted projects, such as fish fingerlings production and cassava stem multiplication programme, since the collaboration commenced in May 2013.
He, however, stressed the need to be more serious in the area of fingerlings multiplication.
Responding, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kucha, lauded WAAPP for the multiple collaborative efforts, being manifested in the revitalisation of several activities on the campus.
The seed centre, he explained, was initiated to provide middle and level manpower in seed science and technology and to introduce good quality seeds of improved varieties of various crops to farmers.
He stressed that the equipment at the seed centre were already obsolete as at the time of delivery and all efforts to make them work failed, adding that the university made desperate attempt to secure bank loan towards its revival, but did not succeed.
Kucha acknowledged receipt of the two project vehicles from WAAPP, a cooling van for the transportation of fingerlings and a Project Hilux van, assuring that they had been of tremendous use to the institution.
He also thanked WAAPP for the involvement of some of the university staff in the WAAPP Competitive Agricultural Research Grant (CARG) programme.
He charged the staff to seize the opportunity of the new window being offered by WAAPP by participating in the CARG scheme.
The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) is a World Bank-assisted programme under the auspices of the member countries of the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS).
The objective of the project is to improve agricultural productivity in the ECOWAS countries and encourage integrated development of agricultural research to generate innovations and promote their diffusion throughout the sub-region.