Tuesday, 1 April 2014

An Adrdress of welcome presented by Unizik-VC, Prof Egboka on the Annual Conference of the University's Faculty of Agriculture yesterday



AN ADDRESS OF WELCOME PRESENTED BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA, NIGERIA, PROF. BONIFACE C.E. EGBOKA, PHD, FAS, FNMGS, FNAH ON THE OCCASION OF THE MAIDEN ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE OF THE UNIVERSITY  HOLDING IN THE UNIVERSITY  AUDITORIUM ON MONDAY, 31ST MARCH, 2014.
I am delighted to welcome all to this landmark event by the faculty of agriculture, Nnamdi Azikiwe, University, Awka. It is a landmark event being the first of such activity in the faculty. For record purposes, the Faculty of Agriculture came into existence following approval by the National University Commission in early 2011. The untiring efforts of Prof P.C. Nnabude (The pioneer Dean of the Faculty) and Prof. G.U. Okereke moved the university management under my administration to take-up the matter with the Senate, Council and NUC and the result is what we are witnessing today.
I never had any illusion regarding the potentials of Agriculture in national economy, job creation, entrepreneurship and youth employment. I wish therefore to commend the Dean, Prof. Lucy Nwuba and her staff team for their resourcefulness and innovation in organizing this Maiden faculty Conference. The theme of the conference “Promoting Entrepreneurship in Agriculture Transformation Agenda for Food Security and Poverty Alleviation” is apt and most timely. Nigeria has been plagued by unprecedented unemployment due to neglect of agriculture. Agriculture is the major employer of labour in the third world countries accounting for over 70% employment. The neglect of this sector is unaccepted and has aggravated the unemployment level in the country.
Secondary, the strength and pride of any nation anchor on food security and her ability to feed her population. Agricultural innovation is an answer to the explosive unemployment and food security problems in the country. In terms of entrepreneurship, agriculture is the most affordable and accessible. The diversity of agricultural production and its value chan provide extensive opportunities. The Management of this University took cognizance of this diversity in proposing seven (7) different programmes under the faculty of Agriculture. The idea is to expose graduates of Agriculture of UNIZIK to diverse opportunities for career and entrepreneurship in Agriculture.
The Management is poised to make the Faculty of Agriculture of this University a Center of Excellence and a model for Agricultural Sceince and technology in Africa. It has already acquired 120 hectres of land in the predominantly agricultural flood plains of Anambra state precisely at Ifite Ogwari, Ayamelum LGA. This area shares boundaries with the Anambra-Imo R.B.A. the Anambra River provides readily available water irrigation, aquatic and fishery activities. Plans are underway to commence construction of access roads and buildings to house different programmes of the Faculty.
This conference is an avenue to showcase the potentials and prospects of the different programmes now available in the faculty. Participants are welcome to this great event and urged to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by this conference to partner with the University in their areas of interest.
Once again, I thank you all for honouring our invitation to this epoch-making event and wish you a happy stay in Awka.
Signed
Prof. Boniface C.E Egboka, PhD, FAS, FNMGS, FNAH
Vice-Chancellor  

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