Prof. Michael Tunde Ajayi

Prof. Michael Tunde Ajayi

For Nigeria and other African countries to surmount the global challenge of food insecurity and socio-economic problems, there is the need to prioritise human resource development in Agriculture. This was the submission of Professor Michael ‘Tunde Ajayi, a Professor of Agricultural Administration, while delivering the 40th Inaugural Lecture of the University titled,

Human Resources Management in Agriculture: A Neglect Component of Agricultural Development.

According to him, “the rapid population growth in the country demands for increased food production through proper management of human resources in the agricultural sector, which is the bane of any nation’s economy”. He noted that what was needed for rapid development, even more than natural resources and man-made physical capital, was human resource, because it was the crux of any enterprise.

“This is the thinking that if the right people are involved, they will probably do it right to the benefit of all”, he added. Professor Ajayi expressed dissatisfaction that stakeholders in agriculture concentrated only on farmers, to produce enough food in order to prevent food insecurity and reduce poverty, while the main actors – the human resource component (educator, trainers, researchers, extension personnel, technicians, among others) – were neglected and marginalised.

The Professor of Agricultural Administration recommended the mainstreaming of Human Resources Management into the agricultural curriculum of Universities, research on management of people in the agricultural sector and developing agriculture as a profession. The don also advocated for the motivation of employees working in agricultural organisations, public-private partnerships and encouraged agriculturists to enroll for postgraduate programmes.

Professor Ajayi commended FUNAAB for being the first University in the country to establish a full Department of Agricultural Management, while calling on other private and public agricultural organisations to pay more attention to the human resource element in agriculture.

The Inaugural Lecturer maintained that Human Resources Management covered recruitment, training, motivation, reward system, incentives, performance appraisal and other managerial activities that enhanced productivity in agriculture.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, noted that the Inaugural Lecture was a forum where University scholars shared their research findings and proffered solutions on topical issues with a view to impacting on the society and community.

The occasion was graced by dignitaries from within and outside the University community, including Dr. Anthonio Gomes and Dr. Marco Fonseca from Embrapa, Brazil; the Vice-Chancellor, Reedemer’s University, Professor Debo Adeyewa; former Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Professor Bisi Balogun; Provost, Aro Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Adegboyega Ogunlesi and former Pro-Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Professor Biyi Afonja among others.