Professor Simeon Adebayo BAMIRE, a Professor of Agricultural Resource Economics and the current Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria delivered OAU 315th Inaugural Lecture on Tuesday 27th of March, 2018 at the Oduduwa Hall of the University. The Lecture was titled: “Agricultural Technology Adoption: Panacea for Sustainable Farming Systems”.
In the Lecture, Professor Bamire interrogates the low adoption of improved agricultural technologies in developing countries against the success stories of the Green Revolution experienced by Asian countries. He classified the determinants of agricultural technology adoption into: human capital, technological, economic, institutional and environmental factors, drawing a nexus between these determinants and sustainable farming systems which in turn translate into food security. He argued the centrality of agricultural technology as key in any national strategy aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and food security. He highlighted the limitations of the common traditional farming systems while in the alternative, advocating for a contextual-specific research that promotes agricultural technology adoption.
With an hall filled to sitting capacity, he took the audience, comprising academic colleagues, eminent scholars, policy makers and traditional institutions, through a rewarding academic adventure spanning over two decades and ultimately climaxing in 2008 with the award of full Professorship in Agricultural Resource Economics. In this journey, Professor Bamire scholarly contributions to the field of Agricultural Economics left indelible footprints on the academia landscape and imprints etched on the hundreds of hearts that had passed through him, from undergraduate to doctoral levels.
Prof. Bamire’s academic reach spans beyond Nigeria. He supervised the first PhD thesis at the African University for Cooperative Development (AUDC) in Cotonou, Benin Republic. Working closely with research institutes such as the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Prof. Bamire has attracted sizeable grants to the University including about $1.5 Million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to carry out baseline survey on six major crops (cassava, maize, cowpea, rice, groundnut and yam) in six States (Benue, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina) in Nigeria. Apart from generating data sets that would serve as a basis for productivity measures overtime, the study will promote capacity building for the staff and students in each of the institutions involved in the project through training of trainers in new analytical tools as DNA fingerprinting, Surveybe, Crop cuts and Women Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI - a gender analytical tool which has never been used in Nigeria until now).
In his recommendations, Prof. Bamire advocates the promotion of research activities in the development of agricultural technologies. In addition, he made case for enhancement of various smallholder income sources such as off-farm employment, remittances, and livestock production, which can lead to higher total household income that will finance the purchase of inputs such as fertilizers, seed, and hired labor. In his words, ‘the promotion of greater research-extension linkages will also improve technology adoption.’ To this end, there is need for a stronger partnership between agricultural researchers and other agents of change, including extension services, local organizations, farmers, community leaders, NGOs, national policy makers, and donors in implementing programs that stimulate and promote farmers adoption of agricultural technologies that can increase agricultural productivity as well as reduce environmental degradation and the deterioration of soil quality, he concluded.