Dr Elizabeth Augustus, Provost, FCA Ibadan
By Mercy Omoike
The Federal College of Agriculture (FCA), Ibadan, has inaugurated a standard organic market as part of activities to mark the 101st anniversary of the college.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, in a statement on Tuesday said that the standard organic market would boost access to organic products.
Abubakar listed the importance of organic produce to include sound health, long shelf life and excellent organoleptic perception.
He, however, urged stakeholders to maximise the opportunities inherent in the market.
Abubakar added that a set of auto-irrigated screenhouses, Information and Communications Technology building, audio-visual building were inaugurated.
He said that classrooms and an office complex newly constructed by the current administration and ready for use were also inaugurated.
Abubakar lauded the ministry’s efforts toward the growth and development of the FCA and other institutions in the ministry.
“I commended the college on her rapid, geometric growth in the last three to four years, and with the rate of development evident in the college, the school will soon metamorphose into a university.
“I, therefore, solicit the support of staff and students of the college toward a continued growth,” he said.
The Provost, FCA, Dr Elizabeth Augustus, reiterated that establishing the organic market was imperative to create a means for the public to regularly access organic products generated in the college’s organic farm.
Augustus stated that the anniversary meant 101 years of producing well trained agricultural manpower; providing solutions to Nigeria’s agricultural challenges through excellent extension services.
She added that the college offers short courses and training programmes, targeted at boosting the competencies of Nigeria’s agricultural personnel and providing excellent services in all areas of agriculture, toward national growth and wellbeing.
“The ministry envisions to ensure food security in crops, livestock and fisheries, stimulate agricultural employment and services, promote the production and supply of raw materials to agro industries and aid rural socio-economic development.
“FCA, Ibadan has keyed into and committed to pivotal roles towards actualisation of its aim through five strategic and accelerated repositioning steps.
“They are training; crop and animal production; research and development; fabrication of farm input or processing equipment and the execution of staff, students and community welfare projects.
“We appreciate the support of the ministry in making the market possible,” she said.
Augustus noted that the college had intensively invested in the provision, repair and renovation of its equipment and facilities.
These, she said, included laboratory and workshop equipment, ongoing construction of 1,000 seater lecture theatre, renovation of college auditorium and classrooms, departmentalisation of the college.
Augustus added that her tenure has also restructured the college health centre, provided alternative power supply to aid in teaching, learning and research activities, among other initiatives.
Also speaking, the Country Coordinator of the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative Nigeria, Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, highlighted the benefits of organic agriculture market toward national health and wellbeing.
AdeOluwa lauded the contributions of the college and other associations and development agencies to the development of organic agriculture in Nigeria.
He added that the college’s organic market would provide opportunities for both academic training and community development activities.