Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Central Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were all conferred with the honorary doctorate degree of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM).
Others conferred with the honorary doctoral degree at the convocation ceremony were the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu; Vice-Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd), an agro-industrialist; and Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Delivering the joint convocation lecture, the CBN governor used the occasion to again challenge tertiary institutions in Nigeria to promote research and well-designed programmes that would boost agriculture in Nigeria.
The topic of the lecture was “Jump Starting the Agricultural Revolution: The CBN Experience”.
Emefiele said the university community had a significant role in fostering research that would enhance yields per hectare by farmers and reduce other constraints faced by farmers, such as access to markets and storage facilities for their produce.
Citing the agricultural success of Israel made possible through research into irrigation, he said the CBN was eager to see how the university community and the graduating students could leverage their knowledge and research to come up with similar breakthrough solutions that would improve productivity of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Emefiele, who was represented by the Director, Development Finance Department, Philip Yila Yusuf, said the CBN was ready to provide a commercial outlook to research breakthroughs on improved seeds by ensuring a guaranteed market through off-take of those seeds for adoption by Nigerian farmers under the Bank’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
He said the seed industry was a multi-billion dollar investment, and offered the potential for collaboration between the CBN and the University Community.
Declaring CBN’s readiness to partner with Nigerian universities to achieve this objective, Emefiele urged them to set up demonstration farms in farming areas, where farmers can come and obtain knowledge on the right farming practices to adopt in order to increase their yields and output.
Emefiele also enumerated the impact of the Bank’s intervention in the agricultural sector in Nigeria, noting that the cumulative effect of the interventions, among other things, assisted Nigeria to achieve progressive increase in agricultural outputs along major agricultural commodities.
He therefore urged the graduating students to leverage the knowledge they had acquired at the school towards applying it in supporting further growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector given its immense opportunities.
He also charged other Nigerian youth to cue into the Bank’s intervention schemes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and the Agribusiness, Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) in order to make their own towards the country’s goal of addressing the challenge of rising demand for food, in spite of the progress made in the production of staple food items.
The CBN Governor, who decried the overreliance of the country on crude oil earnings, said the Bank, as part of its mandate to ensure price and monetary stability, intervene in the agricultural sector, to diversify the Nigerian economy as well as mitigate the impact of global shock to the economy arising from volatility in the price of crude oil.
In conferring the honorary degrees, ths university said it was in recognition of their outstanding contributions in various spheres of human endeavour in the country
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Anande Richard Kimbir, said Emefiele was conferred with an honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) in Agripreneurship, for his leadership role at the Bank, which had continued to work to diversify Nigeria’s largely based mono-economy into agriculture as well as support small-holder farmers.
The Vice Chancellor noted that the effort of the CBN, led by Emefiele, had contributed largely to the return of agricultural pyramids across the country, adding that Emefiele and his team at the Bank had also helped Nigeria to navigate her way out of two recessions in record time.
Other dignitaries awarded honorary doctoral at the convocation ceremony were Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC); Timipre Sylva, the Minister of state for Petroleum; Vice-Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd), an agro-industrialist; and Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
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