Communique Issued At The End Of The National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike’s Annual Review And Planning Workshop

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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE NATIONAL ROOT CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE (NRCRI) UMUDIKE’S ANNUAL REVIEW AND PLANNING WORKSHOP HELD AT THE GROUND FLOOR OF THE LIBRARY COMPLEX AT UMUDIKE FROM 4TH TO 6TH APRIL, 2023.

IntroductionThe workshop which took place from 4th to 6th April, 2023, attracted about 500 participants from among critical stakeholders in Agriculture from Nigeria and the global community including Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Michael Okpara University Umudike (MOUAU), University of Uyo, Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu (FCAI), National Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), African Development Bank (AfDB), IDH, Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS), Yam information Centre Igboukwu, His Royal Highnesses from the Host Communities, Distinguished farmers, Agro-processors, Captains of Industry, Eminent Scientists and Staff of NRCRI and Gentlemen of the Press.

The participants gathered to review the 2022 report and 2023 work proposal of NRCRI, identifying areas of successes and challenges, and devising methods to mitigate the challenges, consolidate the gains and develop a roadmap for the future.

The workshop with the theme ‘Leveraging Root and Tuber Crops for a More Resilient Agriculture-Based Economy’, had the Hon. Minister of State Science and Technology Dr Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh as the Special Guest of Honour, the Vice Chancellor of MOUAU Prof Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe as the Chairman, and Prof Sule Ochai from African Development Bank as Keynote Speaker.

The Chief Host/ Executive Director NRCRI professor Chiedozie Egesi Goodwill messages from Special guests, Keynote Address,

Technical sessions which featured presentations of reports and proposals by research programme coordinators and Principal investigators of projects, Panel discussions, Ground breaking ceremony for the International Conference Centre, unveiling of the new logo of the institute amongst other highlights.

Highlights and Interventions

In his speech, the Executive Director NRCRI identified some key areas of interventions:

NRCRI has released 54 cassava varieties out of which 9 are yellow cassava, 34 yam varieties, 6 potato varieties and 2 ginger varieties.

Build a befitting state-of-the-art 1,000 Capacity International Conference and e-learning Centre. Build an ultra-modern office block, laboratories and screen houses.Establish a spin-off company – Umudike Foods Ltd to market our numerous value added products.

Strengthening of the out-stations to become centres of excellence for cross cutting issues such as climate change, etc.Completion of the perimeter fencing of the headquarter campus of the Institute.

Rebranding of the Institute, launching of a new logo Centennial celebration of the establishment of NRCRI on the 7th of November, 2023 during which the institute will collaborate with ISTRC to host a Root and Tuber Crops (R&TCs) Festival with participants drawn from across the geo-political zones of the country.

The Keynote Speaker in his presentation emphasised that:For root and tuber crops to support an Agriculture- based resilient economy the crops must be resilient to all forms of perturbations at every nodes of the commodity value chain development.

Advancing Root and Tuber Crops(R&TCs) through policy requires that the policy be backed up by appropriation of resources.

R&TCs can contribute to United Nations SDGs of ending extreme hunger, elimination of hunger and malnutrition.

R&TCs can help Nigeria become a net exporter of Agricultural commodities and move to the top of key agricultural value chain.NRCRI can key into TAAT 2 and Dakar 2 to contribute to Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts and help win the war against continental food and nutrition security.

This however requires significa