By Sheriff Balogun
President Goodluck Jona-than yesterday disclosed that the federal government was planning to create about 3.5million jobs in the agricultural sector by 2015, saying the government is putting an initiative in place to enable the existing Universities of Agriculture in the country to establish Departments of Transfer and Acquisition.
Speaking at the 20th convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), the president said by this initiative, they would facilitate the development of appropriate technologies for eventual transfer to the farming communities in the country.
Minister of Education, Mrs Rukkayatu Rufai, who represented Jonathan said “the federal government is putting an initiative in place to enable the three existing Universities of Agriculture in the country establish Departments of Technology Transfer and Acquisition as part of the curricula in their respective institutions.” She added, “when established, they would be expected to facilitate the development of appropriate technologies for eventual transfer to our farming communities which account for about 85 percent of the nation’s population.
“We have already put in place mechanisms to ensure that each state focuses on crops, fisheries and livestock of comparative advantage. In addition, government plans to expand incentives for farmers and the private sector as we expect to create 3.5million jobs in the agricultural sector alone by 2015.
“I do expect our university management and faculties to embark on innovative and creative means of complemeting government’s funding efforts. This is the only way that we can effectively enhance the quality of university education in Nigeria and meaningfully tackle the challenge of the poor international ranking of our universities.”
Jonathan, urged the 1, 355 graduating students to be good ambassadors of the institution while advising them to restore agriculture to its pride of place.
The 20th convocation ceremony of the institution had prominent Nigerians in attendance, including World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, and a business mogul, Chief Jonathan Olopade, who were conferred with Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) in Science, Agriculture and Engineering respectively as well as the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
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