The seedling project of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, has been commended by a team of inspectors from the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), who visited the University’s eight-hectare farm at Olowopoto-Awe campus in Oyo.

The farm was established for the purpose of seed production for ACU Seed Company.

At a ceremony held to announce the establishment of the seedling venture of the University in June, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Timothy Adebayo, said the agriculture business is a matter of high priority to the University, stating that the nation ought to make it the mainstay of the economy. He said good seeds are rare and where they are available, they are not easily accessible to farmers.

Adebayo said the seed company will produce high-quality seed for farmers and aid food production and security in the country

During the visit of the seed council inspectors, the team leader, Oluwole Towolawi, who is also the director of seed Information, data management and capacity building at NASC, said the visit was a follow-up to Prof Adebayo’s visit to the council’s headquarters in Abuja.

Also on the team are the regional head of the council in the South-West, Adeseko Adekunle and the Certification Officer, Research Institute, Ibitoye Oluwasegun

The team was received by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Timothy Adebayo, who expressed delight that the team visited the University to see how it was fairing. He noted that the University is ready to cooperate with the Council, stating that he would be delighted if the team visits the University farm and gave pieces of advice to the University on ways of improvement. The team leader said he was happy at the reception it got, and stated that the Council would partner with the University in the production of quality seed especially given that President Ahmed Bola Tinubu had declared an emergency in Agriculture and food security.

The team was taken round the field by the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Prof Joshua Amao; the Head of the Department of Agriculture and Extension Programme, Dr Timothy Adetunji; the Head, of the Department of Crop and Animal Science, Dr Moses Adebayo; a lecturer at the faculty, Dr Akinyode Esther; and Faculty Officer, Mrs. Oketola Beatrice.

According to Towolawi, the VC, who visited the NASC office in Abuja in the company of some of the principal staff of the University, met with the management of the NASC and had a lengthy discussion on how the council will assist ACU to standardise its seed programme.

He said, “The assistance consists of the establishment and accreditation of the University as a seed producer. We also promised the visiting ACU top management team that we would assist the school in developing the curriculum for seed technology study.

“We are aware that already, seed multiplication programme of the University is ongoing.

“We want to see if the programme is being done according to the standard and offer advice and assistance for the right standard to be attained. That is the essence of the visit.”

He said after visiting the field inspection, the team was satisfied with what it witnessed.

He stated, “I must commend the school for a job well done. The maize farm is well established.

“I am impressed with the willingness of the management to heed advice and immediately carry out effective corrections. We also discussed the curriculum for the school’s seedling programme, especially for the students in 300 and 400 levels so that the University can assist with the development of manpower for the country.”

ACU to help bridge the seedling manpower gap

Towolawi pointed out that currently, there is a dearth of manpower in the seed sector, while also highlighting the importance of the ACU project to bridge the gap.

He said, “At our own level, we lack adequate manpower. We want to license seed inspectors that will render services for us. As an institution, we are going to collaborate with the university to bring up this set of people for the industry.

“In fact, we have a lot of things to do with the University. We are not here to condemn the good work of the University but to assist it to attain a high standard.”

He said some of the observations highlighted during the field investigation will assist in the development seed programme curriculum.

In his response, the Dean of the faculty, Prof. Amao, said ACU team is receptive and will always be ready to cooperate with the council on the project.

The team also came back to tell the Vice-Chancellor what they saw in the field and gave their opinion about areas that needed improvement. Professor Adebayo assured them that everything would be done to implement their recommendations.