ARCN to explore external funding for research devt

The new management of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) has revealed its readiness to explore external funding option to develop research in the sector.
The Executive Secretary, Prof. Garba Sharubutu, in his vision and strategies statement, recently said the new management will explore the possibility of grants available from donor agencies and write proposals for funding. He added that farmer organisations will also be mobilised to fund activities of the Council.

“Council will also seek ways of generating revenue internally. With the global economic meltdown, internally generated revenue will enhance growth and reduce the over dependency of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) on budgetary allocation. NARS currently produce a number of remedies which are very useful and in high demand. The mechanism for the distribution of this products will be worked out through licensed agents who will be registered by the NARS. This will provide better outlet for the products and promote their use.
“ARCN should be able to initiate a bill seeking to separate tax generated from agricultural companies and channel it to NARIs and the colleges of Agriculture for agricultural research and training. This is because despite the fact that fund for the TEDFUND and other funding bodies are generated from agricultural companies, NARIS and the colleges of Agriculture have over the years been denied access to such interventions,” he said.
He said efforts will be made towards developing new technologies to meet our local needs and that of our immediate neighbours. 

“To achieve this, the council will introduce a reward system for innovations and productivity. In  addition, a biannual exhibition of research activities will be introduced to reward innovation by researchers, the research institutes, colleges of Agriculture and agriculture related organisations.
According to him, the council have lost many experienced staff to retirement and death, hence the need to build the capacity of existing staff.
He said the council will capitalise on the introduction of twinning, which is collaboration between the week and strong laboratories among research institutes  to build capacity in research institutes and colleges of Agriculture.

He assured that efforts shall be made to establish “Radio Agric” to educate farmers on agriculture, adding that “this shall be made joint venture with farmer associations and agricultural and related companies.”
He said the council will also establish a museum that will make it a global reference centre to provide data bank and means of identification of organisms for research, teaching, excursion and tourism.
“It is imperative that the new management of the Council introduce deliberate policy to ensure revival and continuity of projects and programmes such as Agricultural Research Outreach Centers (AROC), Competitive Agricultural Research Grant Scheme (CARGS) and West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP). Strategies for this will include commercialisation of the products of the programmes, active participation of beneficiary communities and community based ownership of the programmes.

“The council will link up with other research organisations, both within and outside the country such as Nigeria Institute of Microbiology Research, Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research, National Institute for Animal Production and Universities in order to coordinate and refocus research and develop synergy in the promotion of ground breaking models for agricultural activities. We shall identify numerous farmers organisation and private individuals involved in agriculture and establish strong ties to foster collaborative research, training and extension. This will enhance utilisation of research output from the NARIs,” he said.
Sharubutu also promised the Council’s website will be made active with a dedicated staff to generate and distribute information on its activities as efforts will be geared toward developing a comprehensive ICT unit using facilities available at remote sensing jobs, NCC and  similar organisation/parastatals.

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