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Brief History of the Department of Crop Protection

Crop Protection Department (CPD) which carries out teaching, research and outreach activities came into being in 1968. Since then many famous names in the field of Crop Protection in Nigeria today have been associated with the Department. It is the first Crop Protection Department and still the best in the whole of Nigeria for its quality of research, teaching and outreach activities. It was first headed by Prof. Margaret Keay and started with only Two Sections namely; Entomology and Plant Pathology and has now grown into Six fully blown Units namely; Bacteriology, Entomology, Mycopathology, Nematology, Virology and very recently Toxicology. The current staff strength is 25 Teaching (with diverse areas of expertise) and 60 Technical and Administrative staff.

Since inception CPD has been offering pest and diagnostic services to farmers, researchers and Agro-allied companies involving identification of plant pests and diseases and advisory services on their management. It also maintains one of the largest collections of insects in sub-Saharan Africa for teaching and research in its Insect Museum (recently named after the first Curator J.C. Deeming). This has been a toss of both local and international visitors. The Department produced the first professor of Plant Bacteriology in Africa south of the Sahara in 1982 in the person of Prof. I.D. Erinle and has been offering Phytosanitary Certificates recognised worldwide for the past 30 years. It has also been conducting tests on the efficacy of new insecticides and fungicides marketed by some Agro-Chemical Companies in Nigeria. A Mycotoxin laboratory to serve the West and Central African region was recently set up as part of an international collaboration.

To date, 15 different people have headed CPD. The Department produced both the first foreign (Prof. Margaret Keay; 1968-71) and first indigenous (Prof. Olufunmilola Alabi; 2004-2008) females to head any Department in the Faculty of Agriculture. Interestingly these two individuals also later on and at different times became the first foreign and first indigenous female Deans of the Faculty of Agriculture in this remarkable University. Staff members have continued to diligently carry out teaching (with up to date and dynamic course content), research and extension activities with great zeal and dedication. CPD which works vigorously to promote diversity has always had excellent members who have won and are still winning highly competitive national and international awards. For distinction and notable contributions to crop protection research, over 12 staffers have since inception of the Department received Fellow Awards from reputable national societies like Nigerian Society for Plant Protection (NSPP), Entomological Society of Nigeria (ESN) and Horticultural Society of Nigeria (HORTSON), and prestigious international societies like African Scientific Institute (ASI) in the U.S.A, Royal Entomological Society and Royal Society of Biology both in the U.K. for distinction and notable contributions to crop protection research.

The latest chapter in the history of this Department is in the recent re-naming of two rooms; Conference Room and Insect Museum after Prof. I.D. Erinle and Dr J.C. Deeming respectively for their immense contributions to the fame, growth and development of the Department.