Professor Bola Okuneye

Professor Bola Okuneye

A University Don from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management (AE & FM) in the College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), Professor ‘Bola Okuneye has proffered Research and Extension as a key factor to achieving Food Security and Economic Development.

Professor Okuneye made this declaration while delivering the Keynote Address titled, “Research and Extension as Requisites for Food Security and Economic Development” at the Extension Orientation Workshop for University Academic Staff and Agricultural Development Programme Staff in South West, Nigeria.

According to Professor Okuneye, the world is facing a clear challenge of food crisis and for it and its populace to survive, must produce 40% more food by 2050, using limited land and water, less energy, fertilizer, and pesticide, while contending with rapid changes in many spheres.

Professor Okuneye however expressed hope in a close relationship that has been established between investments in Research and Development (R&D) and agricultural production, which according to him, is the obvious path to addressing the food crisis.

He advocated that research findings should no longer be stored in shelves but extended to the end-users, such as the Farmers and Entrepreneurs.

Professor Okuneye also canvassed for an increase in the amount of research conducted through a higher budget for research and extension to address the challenges.

This, according to him implies that Universities and Research Institutes should not just conduct research studies but ensure that such studies are relevant to the common man and industries; that there is an uptake of the research findings by stakeholders; the research should be demand driven and must be sustainable.

He explained further that sustainability in the context should be seen from the point of view of the social attributes, economics and the environment adding that when these factors are in place, “Then food security and economic development can be assured.”

Professor Okuneye equally charged Universities and Research Institutes to regularly develop resilient agricultural systems using rational, affordable strategies that not only increase production but also achieve food security for households and individuals; minimise poverty and create jobs and ultimately attain sustainable development.

Projecting into the future, he asserted that a well-planned and adequately funded research and extension agenda will go a long way in alleviating the challenges associated with food insecurity, proactively address future food crises and reduce the ever growing food prices which will ultimately enhance sustainable development and global economic growth.

Expressing optimism over Nigeria capability to wade through the challenges posed by food insecurity in the nearest future, Prof. Okuneye noted that political will and commitment by the government is needed as well as dedication of stakeholders, particularly the researchers, extension specialists and professionals (who are targeted adopters of the research output and who should be given a conducive environment) to profitably carry out the required changes.