Business and Economy

IITA and Bells University to jointly establish agricultural incubation hub

IITA and Bells University of Technology (BUT), Ota, Ogun State, have signed an agreement to join forces on various aspects of agripreneurship development.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed in Ota, will see IITA and BUT collaborate on the establishment of an Agricultural Incubation Hub in Ota to train youth in Agripreneurship. The two institutions also agreed to make BUT an agricultural center for farmers in Ota metropolis and environs.

The partnership also includes the development of an Agriprenuership 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.

According to Kenton Dashiell, IITA’s Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery, the MoU will foster cooperation for the development and implementation of collaborative programs. These include technical backstopping to BUT’s Centre for Agricultural Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CATES) that will equip graduates with theoretical and practical knowledge 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. 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.

Prof. Jeremiah O. Ojediran, BUT Vice-Chancellor, described the MoU as the 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 to fast-track the transformation of agriculture in Africa.

Officials from IITA and BUT witnessed the signing of the MoU. Those from IITA included Alfred Dixon, Director for Development & Delivery; Chrys Akem, Coordinator, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT); Christian Fatokun,  Scientist; Sore Zainatou, Head of Capacity Development Office; Godwin Atser, Digital Extension & Advisory Services Specialist; Ezinne Ibe, Project Administrator; and Adetola Adenmosun, representing ENABLE-TAAT. BUT was represented by the Registrar, Mr Lamidi Tafa; Bursar, Mr Sina Adepoju; the Acting Director of CATES, Dr J. A. Daramola, and other faculty members of CATES and Administrative Staff.

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