Bayero University’s Centre for Dryland Agriculture has identified date palm sex to help farmers record fruitful and bumper harvests in a research breakthrough carried out by the centre.
The Centre’s Director, Professor Jibrin Mohammed Jibrin disclosed this while speaking with newsmen during the 10th-anniversary celebration of the centre, on Wednesday.
He said with the breakthrough, the centre secured an agreement with the Jigawa State government to supply 100,000 seedlings of dates for onward distribution to farmers in the state.
“About two years ago, some farmers came complaining about the problem of a date farm. Date farm is a plant that has male and female plants but if you plant all males on your farm then you will continue to water it for several years without bearing fruits. We promised to look into that problem and we got our scientists to work. They were able to develop a methodology and protocol using molecular biology to identify the genes responsible for sex in date farms. Now, we can generate with certainty the male or female plants,” he said.
“Based on that breakthrough, the Jigawa State government is going into agreement with us to supply 100,000 seedlings of date plant for onward distribution to farmers around June/July. It is one important breakthrough and I think it's something worth making some noise about,” he added.
He further reeled out other achievements attained by the centre to include, training of over 350 MSc and about 100 PhD students from 14 countries of the West and Central Africa sub-region, training of more than 2,000 professionals in various skills through short-term courses while its research activities were been utilized by industries (food, fertilizer and pharmaceutical industries among others).
The Kano State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna assured the centre of the state government’s readiness to partner with it to utilize the research work carried out by the centre by formulating them into policies that will boost the agricultural sector and farming activities of the state.
“Within the short period of its existence, the centre has recorded significant but modest achievements in the three cardinal areas of teaching/training, research and outreach activities. The centre has made the Kano State government proud and so we shall continue to associate with the centre to together to lift agriculture to greater heights not only in Kano State and Nigeria, but Africa as a whole,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed represented by the Vice-Chancellor of BUK, Professor Sagir Adamu Abbas expressed the willingness of the Commission to continue to support the centre in all its activities towards achieving its mission in addressing the African developmental challenges through continuous research, knowledge transfer and training of high-quality graduates which is in tandem with the mission and vision of Bayero University Kano (BUK).