Nigeria (Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta) FUNAAB 71st Inaugural Lecture:… Prof. Enikuomehin Makes Case for Farmers’ Indigenous Knowledge to Unravel Nature’s Secret

Prof. Ololade Adeduro, a Professor of Plant Pathology in the College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) and Former Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), has delivered the University’s 71st Inaugural Lecture titled, “Tending The Inaudible: The Management of Plant Afflictions With The Endowments of Nature”, which he presented as his stewardship in being a Pant Doctor.

Delivering his lecture, the Don noted that the concept of disease is one life feature that plant and animal shared in common. However, unlike man, a diseased plant, according to him “Is not audible, either they do not cry or when they do, we do not hear”, he added that such plants cannot relocate from point of threat or move around to seek help as men and animals would do.

Prof. Enikuomehin described such conditions the plants find themselves as special, and an issue of concern which culminated into the basis for the speaking up for the inaudible plants as a “Plant Doctor”.

The 71st inaugural Lecturer who gave a beautiful delivery defending nature and plants equally called for the engagement of farmers’ indigenous knowledge in order to unravel and exploit the hidden potentials of nature for improved crop protection.

He stressed that a renewed effort is necessary to engage the farmers, adding that their knowledge of different plants and their potential as well as the peculiarity of the respective ecosystem is very important in developing efficient crop protection strategies.

The 71st Inaugural Lecturer hinted that the existing information gap between researchers and indigenous farmers in the various farming systems must be bridged in the quest to utilise the endowments of nature in plant disease management.

According to him, “Further research into other viable plant products and environment-based crop protection practices should start from rural farmers. These people still have indigenous knowledge that requires to be tapped. By this, the treasures of knowledge hidden in the farmer and the endowments of nature will become available to future generations to live by”.

Prof. Enikuomehin stated that there are numerous research findings on the efficacy of different plant products and environment-friendly practices in the management of fungi-induced diseases of tropical crops, noting that these findings require to be harnessed into a compendium for easy reference.

He added that, “This is important because of the inherent value of this information for the development of crop protection strategies in tropical farming systems”.

The Former Acting Vice-Chancellor noted that the panacea to plant afflictions lie within the plant and its surroundings, stating that the Plant-based resources such as crude or fermented extracts and Ash, ecosystem management practices like intercropping, plant population density and planting arrangements have been verified to protect plants from fungal diseases.

He further stated that plant products and environment-based protection practices should be given more emphasis by researchers and policy makers as a way of reducing the cost of crop production, stressing that the time is due for a Plant Protection Policy in Nigeria.

Earlier in his Remarks, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Olusola Kehinde disclosed that the 71st Inaugural Lecture was the first he was presiding over since his assumption of office as the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University.

He however commended Prof. Enikuomehin for upholding the virtues of integrity, truth, fairness and Justice in various responsibilities he has been saddled with in FUNAAB.