Commonwealth organisation partners OAU, ARMTI, educate stakeholders on smart Agric

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The Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Professor Clement Adebooye, has called on Nigerian farmers to embrace smart agriculture through indirect learning for high yield and greater productivity.

The Vice Chancellor made the call on Friday during a workshop on Scaling-up Lifelong Learning for decision makers (permanent secretaries, directors and general managers of parastatals).

The workshop was sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada, in conjunction with Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI).

Adebooye said that with the advent of modern technology, farming has gone beyond the era of hoes and cutlasses to plant, remove weeds, wetting seeds, harvesting and urged farmers to upgrade their skills through lifelong learning.

“Smart agriculture needs to be prioritised by farmers through indirect learning so as to have greater productivity,” he stated.

Adebooye urged farmers to plan ahead, for lifelong learning is a team work, appealed to the organisers of the training to involve the relevant stakeholders in lifelong learning.

Speaking at the workshop, the Director of ARMTI, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, said that the training would benefit food security and agricultural production and support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

In the same vein, Prof Victor Okoruwa, from Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, spoke on:”Prioritising the value chain for the attainment of SDG of self-sufficiency”.

Okoruwa appealed to farmers to ensure that they choose a particular value chain to concentrate on so as to achieve SDGs.

He asked them to prioritise value chain through relevant knowledge and ensure adequate representation and should keep participant numbers.

Also speaking, Adeolu Ayanwale, Professor of Agricultural Economics, OAU, said that the knowledge gap among the farmers was discouraging youths from farming, resulting in lower productivity and welfare among farmers.

“But if lifelong learning persists, there would be a positive change among the farmers” he said.

According to him, the workshop was
meant for NGOs, Ministry, Federal and State parastatals, principal officials in agricultural sectors, among others, so as to serve as catalyst to encourage others.

Earlier, Head of Department of Agricultural Economics, OAU, Prof Adebayo Akinola, said that the workshop was designed to bring together farmers, learning institutions, banks and information and communication technology providers to facilitate learning.

According to him, the workshop would empower vulnerable farmers and their families to gain knowledge on skills development, increase their productivity, food security and would liberate agricultural communities from socio-economic constraints.

He assured the participants that lifelong learning for farmers would improve their incomes through quality produce and increase their livelihoods and eradicate poverty at the rural areas.

“This makes it an inevitable tool for rural community development and a means for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating hunger and poverty,” he stated.

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