Prof. Adekunle Okesina, the Vice Chancellor of the university presided over the ceremony at a workshop held at the university’s auditorium in Osogbo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop focused on the sustainable production and utilisation of under-utilised local vegetables to enhance rural food security.
The programme was hosted by the university under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) in cooperation with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and University of Manitoba.
No fewer than seven organisations including Odi-Aperin God Mercy Cooperative Akanran, Unity Farmers’ Society, Akure, Ijero Ekiti Precious Women Cooperative and Inisa Vegetable Growers benefitted from the gesture.
The vice-chancellor expressed the hope that the vegetable farmers would continue to train many more farmers in their localities, with a view to promoting the project.
Prof. Adesiyan Olawoyin, the Chairman of Council and Pro-Chancellor, Fountain University, Osogbo, lauded the scientists, who created what he called a “profound awareness” on the promotion of indigenous vegetables.
Olawoyin, who declared the workshop open, called on other universities to follow the good example of the state university by contributing their own quota to food production.
In his address, Mr Wale Adedoyin, state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, said the programme was a laudable initiative relevant to the six-point integral action plan of the state government.
Adedoyin said that the state had 200 hectares of vegetable in Ogbaagba, 10,000 strands of tomatoes while government was also training volunteers of the state Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) on food security.
He wondered why youths should not be interested in agriculture at a time when no household could cope without food.
“Everybody wants to eat and there is money in vegetable. Nobody should think that farming is for the elderly only, anybody who is in farming now is in lucrative business,” he said.
Also speaking, Prof. Bob Elias, the Project Manager described the occasion as very unique, stressing that the activities of the vegetable farmers had been very impressive.
Elias, who lauded the farmers for their commitment to the project, said the need to produce food in abundance, particularly indigenous vegetable, could not be over-emphasised.
Highlight of the programme was the distribution of vegetable seeds and seedlings free of charge to vegetable farmers as well as workshop participants. (NAN)