Business News Nigeria: The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP-Nigeria) is to host an International Research Fair in November this year in Abuja.  The National Project Coordinator, WAAPP-Nigeria, Prof. Damian Okey Chikwendu announced this on Wednesday (the 14th of August, 2013) at a meeting he held with Coordinators of Adopted Villages from all the Agricultural Research Institutes and Colleges of Agriculture in the country, at the Nugget Hotel in Abuja.

Prof. Chikwendu said the fair which will be international in nature will have all the Agricultural Research Institutes and Colleges of Agriculture in the Country displaying series of latest agricultural technologies they have generated of late, some of which he said have remained largely on the shelf until now.  He announced that arrangements were already on for the participation of all the 15 WAAPP member countries of the West Africa Sub-Region, in the regional Research Fair.

While clarifying issues on the participation of Nigerian Universities in the fair, Professor Chikwendu said they would not be part of the November Fair as they are only just coming on board.  He was however, hopeful that with the on-going collaboration between WAAPP and some selected Nigerian Universities, they would soon start generating technologies which could feature at subsequent Research Fairs.  He further announced that WAAPP is currently expanding the idea of disseminating improved agricultural technologies through some pilot Universities in the country.

The Institutions he said, include Bayero University, Kano; Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; Federal University of Technology, Yola; UNIAGRIC Makurdi, University of Ilorin, Federal University of Technology, Minna; University of Abuja, FUNNAB Abeaokuta, FUT Akure, University of Nigeria, Nsuka; University of Calabar and the University of Uyo.

Addressing participants further on the effective dissemination of agricultural technologies through the Adopted Villages and the Agricultural Research Outreach Centres (AROCs), he reminded them that they were expected to reach a minimum of 10,000 farming families in their vicinities.  They are particularly required to note the performance indicators as part of their success stories.  Such indicators, he said, include the number of people that are adopting the technologies as well as those taking to farming as a result of the new technologies.
The Adopted Villages and AROCs are located respectively in the immediate localities and in the secondary schools in the neighborhood of the Research Institutes, all within 20 kilometer radius of the Institutes.

The National project Coordinator observed with dismay the fiscal problems created by non-retirement of fund advanced to the various Research Institutions due to some recent strike actions embarked upon by the Research Institutes and warned that WAAPP will no longer give out money to organizations that are always on strike.   Any Institution that fails to retire any fund advanced at the right time, he said would be blacklisted and compelled to refund the amount advanced.

He also reminded the Coordinators of the Adopted Villages that every project they embark upon must have an environmental focal point person attached to it. This he said is to ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are built into the project to avoid running foul of World Bank directives and ideals.

The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) is a five-year program initiated by ECOWAS and funded largely by the World Bank.  The goal of WAAPP is to make agriculture more productive and sustainable while promoting regional integration.  Specifically, it provides a sub-regional framework on which the ECOWAS countries collaborate to develop agricultural strategies, national and regional, for the generation, dissemination and adoption of technologies considered as priority commodities to the implementing countries.

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