The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Chief Lawrence Ayinde Olakunle Osayemi, MON, has described agriculture as the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.

He made the declaration last week, at a dinner organised for the 16th Triennial International Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) participants, at the Pro-Chancellor’s Lodge.

The Pro-Chancellor stated that this year’s theme is apt as it relates to climate change which is evident, adding that the representatives of about 33 countries of the world can bear witness to the fact.

He said that part of the problems of the Northern part of the country “was desertification but now it is flood which has made the Nation’s Senate to ratify a supplementary budget to combat the menace”.

Chief Osayemi said that Nigeria is working towards becoming one of the 20 biggest economies of the world, come year 2020, adding that agricultural opportunities would be harnessed for the benefit of its citizens.

According to him, “it is achievable because Nigeria has a comparative advantage in agriculture.

“We will increase our irrigational facilities so we can plant throughout the year to improve on productivity”, he noted.

He however charged the participants not to depart with their research findings but to leave it behind for continuity purposes.

In his Welcome Address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole said that the University community is delighted to have the participants in their midst, charging them to avail themselves of the opportunity to relate and unwind.

Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Professor Toyin Arowolo, the Vice-Chancellor stated that the participants should wine and dine as the dinner’s main purpose is to relax.

Highpoint of the programme was the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards to Professor Felix Nweke, a Nigerian from the Michigan State University, USA and Professor G.W Otim-Nape, an Ugandan from the African Innovations Institute, Kampala, Uganda.

Others are distinguished Scientist Special Award presented to Dr. Conrad Bonsi, an American from the Tuskegee University, USA and Dr. (Mrs.) Jan Low also an American from the International Potato Centre, Nairobi, Kenya.