We apply team approach in developing and executing effective research programmes. Technologies generated through research are fitted into existing practices by commercial firms and well organized extension services. On the other hand, technologies generated through research cannot easily be imparted to small scale farming as the small farms are complex in organization.
A typical small holder keeps livestock (chickens, goats, sheep, cattle or pigs), grows his own food crops and grows cash crops. If he is to progress he needs all types of technologies e.g. animal husbandry, crop production and grain storage. Attempts to develop one subsector will results in imbalances. An example is an emphasis in cash crop production during the colonial periods resulted in neglect of food crops and livestock. A combined approach would have averted imbalances. In addition to this, one finds that even within one crop there is a need to combine several disciplines. If one considers a research programme on the introduction of a new maize variety scientists have to test for adaptability, disease resistance, nutrient and water requirements, day length, weeds, pests, milling quality and technological suitability.
NATIONAL ASPIRATIONS: AGRICULTURAL PERSPECTIVES
Without exception all countries desire to be “self-supporting” in food production and avoid depending on other countries. While many countries cannot produce all types of foods required due to agro ecological limitations it is preferred that a country should not be a net-importer of foods as importations cost scarce foreign exchange and dependency on food imports exposes the country to possible external manipulations. Malnutrition Is common in developing countries and many countries wish to improve the nutritional levels through increased supplies of foods and better quality foods.
National resources should inevitably be directed towards this. In the course of industrialization, developing countries logically start with agricultural processing industries and this inevitably creates a demand for specific raw materials. It is only through sustained production of raw materials that the
Industries can run. Agriculture has to produce export crops to earn foreign exchange which can be used to sustain agriculture and other industries. Initial capital for industries and infrastructural development also arise mainly from agricultural exports. The majority of the people in developing countries are engaged in agriculture and governments’ aspiration is for increased productivity and improvement of the living standards or rural people.
Apply where and when it is needed most
Our seeds and crop protection products increase yield, productivity and profit, and reduce risks by supporting farmer control over where and when a product is needed most.
AGRICULTURAL EXPLORATION: OUR OBJECTIVES
The contribution agricultural exploration makes in ensuring that the national aspirations are met is in the generation of technologies. In drawing up the objectives aimed at generating technologies the following stages are involved:
1) Understanding of the status quo
2) Identification of the problems,
3) Defining explicitly the problems and
4) Suggestion of alternative solutions which are experimented on.
The objectives are very specific, therefore the
General objectives listed below are intentionally not detailed.
⦁ To increase productivity per production unit. The production unit can be a crop or an animal on a unit land. In the cause of Increasing productivity it also aimed at increasing the efficiency of utilization of Inputs of labour, energy, fertilizer, animal feed, pesticides/fungicides, water for irrigation, etc. Ultimately increase food supplies and incomes and raise standards of living.
⦁ To determine optimum levels and combinations of inputs for economic returns.
⦁ To stabilize the agricultural and related industries through long term strategy e.g. droughts, bird invasions, locust invasions, crop/animal breeding programs, marketing, germ plasm storage, range monitoring, employment generation, raw material supplies for the industries, inputs for manufacturing industries.
⦁ To improve the quality of agricultural products such as protein quality, flavour, processing quality, presence of toxins and other consumer preferences.
⦁ To solve imminent catastrophes e.g. new insect pest, outbreak of a new cattle disease, toxins in stored products, breakdown of vaccines etc.
FACTORS WE CONSIDER IN SELECTING OUR FOCUS
National goals and priorities:
⦁ Short and long term objectives.
⦁ Urgency of the research.
⦁ Neglected areas but of national significance.
⦁ Our proposals always fall within the existing national research goals and priorities. If there are no exploration priorities set we extrapolate from national agricultural policy and priorities or development plans.
Importance of the commodity to be considered in form of absolute and relative contribution to:
⦁ The agricultural industry.
⦁ The gross national product (GNP).
⦁ The farmers’ income.
⦁ The food supplies.
⦁ The foreign exchange earnings.
⦁ The foreign exchange savings.
⦁ Production of raw materials to the industries. Data can be obtained from central statistical units on the above. Emphasis should be placed on commodities which contribute significantly.
Productivity of the commodity:
⦁ Productivity per unit area
⦁ Value of product per unit area
⦁ Value of product per inputs as resources of land, labour and other inputs are scarce, commodities with higher outputs per unit area or inputs are likely to be more beneficial.
Likely of the utilization of the results:
⦁ ease of adoption of technology by small farmers
⦁ social implications
⦁ Potential productivity increment per unit area or animal unit.
⦁ Value of the product increment
⦁ Contribution to nutritional needs
⦁ Value of required inputs to be imported.
⦁ Handling, storage, processing, marketing of products
⦁ Employment generation
⦁ Environmental impacts
Personnel – scientific, and support
⦁ Facilities — laboratories, field stations
⦁ Equipment – scientific and field
Our Agricultural production statistics levels, trends, contribution to GNP and export emphasis on relevant areas in;
(i) Livestock option: Livestock populations, distribution and growth rate livestock production (beef, milk, and mutton), total production indices reproduction rates, growth rate, milk production, mortality, market off take.
(Ii) Crops Option: Crop production statistics per unit area and relative importance of various crops in several ecological zones.
(iii) Post-harvest Option: Present patterns of staple food production and consumption (quantity). Present system of handling, storage and processing of earmarked staples and food preferences.
Agricultural exploration benefits
⦁ Employment opportunities as more Nigerians will be engaged in the expanded agricultural sub-sector activities.
⦁ Poverty reduction through import substitution.
⦁ Conservation of scarce foreign exchange is achieved and this is ploughed into other sectors of our socio-economic life. Reduction in rural urban migration as more people get engaged in farming, input supply and food processing in the rural areas will increase drastically. Life in the rural area will become more meaningful as it will compare with the comforts of urban cities.