The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Bells University of Technology (BUT), Ota, Ogun State, have signed an agreement to join forces on various aspects of agropreneurship development.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed last week in Ota, will see IITA and BUT collaborate on the establishment of an Incubation Hub in Ota to cater for the youths in Agropreneurship. The two institutions also agreed to make BUT a Centre and Agricultural Station for farmers in Ota metropolis and environs, to articulate on-farm challenges, joint research and engage in feedback on relevant solutions.
The deal also includes the development of an Agroprenuership curriculum with input from the already established MBA program in Agriculture run by IITA with the University of Ibadan, as well as the facilitation of joint research and grant proposals by experts on both sides.
According to Dr. Kenton Dashiell, IITA’s Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, the MoU provides a linkage to foster cooperation for the development and implementation of collaborative programs including technical backstopping to BUT’s Centre for Agricultural Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CATES) that will equip graduates with theoretical knowledge and practical skills in agriculture and entrepreneurship.
He added that Nigeria and Africa as a whole would benefit hugely from the partnership between IITA, which in the past 50 years, has been generating agricultural innovations to address hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation in Africa; and BUT, Nigeria’s first private University of Technology which provides an enabling environment for effective learning and teaching, applying the results of cutting-edge research in science and technology for human wellbeing and the development of the society.
BUT will also leverage on IITA programs such as the IITA Youth Agripreneur (IYA) program aimed at addressing widespread youth unemployment using agriculture; and the Start Them Early Program (STEP), designed to take agribusiness studies to primary and secondary school students, he added.
Prof. Jeremiah O. Ojediran, BUT Vice Chancellor, described the MoU with IITA as a dawn for a new era for the university and the country to harness the international expertise of IITA.
The partnership between IITA and BUT was initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and IITA Director General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga as a shared vision to fast-track the transformation of agriculture in Africa.
The signing of the MoU was witnessed by high level officials including Dr Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development & Delivery; Dr Chrys Akem, Coordinator, IITA-African Development Bank-funded Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT); Dr Christian Fatokun, IITA Scientist; Sore, Sougrynoma Zainatou, IITA Head of Capacity Development Office; Godwin Atser, IITA Digital Extension & Advisory Services Specialist; Ezinne Ibe, Project Administrator; Adetola Adenmosun, representing IITA-ENABLE TAAT. On the BUT side were BUT’s Registrar, Mr. Lamidi Tafa; Bursar, Mr Sina Adepoju; the Acting Director of CATES, Dr. J. A. Daramola, other faculty members of CATES and Administrative Staff.