From left, the Pro-Chancellor, Chief Lawrence Ayinde Olakunle Osayemi; the Chairman, Lafarge Cement

From left, the Pro-Chancellor, Chief Lawrence Ayinde Olakunle Osayemi; the Chairman, Lafarge Cement

Four years after it suddenly disappeared from the radar, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor OlusolaBandele Oyewole has resuscitated the University’s age-long Yam Roasting Festival, barely four months in office.
The journey to the rebirth of the Festival began when a distinguished Alumnus of the University, Chief Olusegun Oshunkeye, who is the Chairman, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc, among others, advised the Vice-Chancellor, who paid him a courtesy call recently to resuscitate the Yam Roasting Festival.
In what appears as a rapid response to the
candid advice, eminent personalities, led by the former Secretary General, Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, on Wednesday converged at Teaching and Research Farms Directorate (TREFAD) for the celebration of the 2012 Yam Roasting Festival.
It was a meeting of the Town and Gown when the significance of Yam as a staple food and cashcrop became a subject of intellectual discourse by the Pro-Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, former Secretary General of Commonwealth and the Chairman, Lafarge WAPCO, Plc, Chief Olusegun Oshunkeye, OON, OFR.
Speaking at the Festival, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole described the significance of Yam in Nigeria not only as staple food but also as cash crop, adding that it isone of the popular arable crops, extensively cultivated in FUNAAB for research purposes.
Professor Oyewole stressed that the Festival has facilitated and enhanced the town and gown relationship, calling on guests to take the opportunity to socialise and discuss issues on development, as well as proffer innovative ideas that will improve the University and the well being of humanity, at large.
The Vice-Chancellor decried the daunting challenges faced by Agriculture as climate change and emerging pests and diseases, in spite of the University’s relentless efforts.
He pointed out that government’s funding of the universities is grossly inadequate to put an end to these challenges, thereby soliciting the support of the private sector through collaboration in research and extension to combat it.
Professor Oyewole enjoined active players in the sector to promote researches in Agriculture through funding, donation of equipment and partnership.
The Vice-Chancellor stated that the University is well prepared to sustain the qualitative training, given to the students to make them self-reliant and employers of labour, stressing thatthe Community Based Farming Scheme (COBFAS) and the Graduate Farming Employment Scheme (GRADFES) among other programmes, would make them job-creators and self-reliant.
The Vice-Chancellor said the University would utilise a sizeable chunk of the 10,000ha landmass for the cultivation of cash crops like yam, maize, soybean, cassava, rice, plantain and oil palm, adding its the University’s desire to cater for the tomato needs of its immediate environment within a short period of time.
He added that FUNAAB has facilities for the production of livestock and fisheries which are geared towards assisting in the increase of food production, food security and poverty reduction.
In his Welcoming Address, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Chief Lawrence Ayinde Olakunle Osayemi stated that there were three Universities of Agriculture established at the same time of which FUNAAB is one.
According to him, “without being immodest, FUNAAB has stepped higher than the others”.
He said last year, less than 30,000 students applied to the University, noting that this year, morethan 34, 000 students applied which means people are getting more interested in this Universityon daily basis.
Also speaking at the Festival, the Chairman, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc, Chief Olusegun Oshunkeye who sees the occasion from a commercial point of view, stressed the importance of the relationship between the town and gown, saying it promotes interaction between them.
He challenged the University on the need to feed its community with its products within a short while.
Chief Oshunkeye decried the bulk importation from South Africa of most of Shoprite’s foods, charging the University to rise up to such challenges.
He commended the Vice-Chancellor for putting this wonderful festival together having just spentbarely four months in office.

SOURCE: The University of Agriculture, Abeokuta


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Obasi Chinedu Is an Author at He is a member of the Nigerian Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ). You can reach out to Him On Twitter via @Obasi_Chinedu

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