In order to cater for youths in agropreneurship, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Bells University of Technology (BUT), Ota, Ogun State have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of an Incubation Hub in Ota.
Dr. Kenton Dashiell, IITA’s Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, while speaking during the signing of the agreement said that the MoU provides a linkage to foster cooperation for the development and implementation of collaborative programmes, 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.
He said that the two institutions 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.
According to him, 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.
He added that 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.
Professor Jeremiah Ojediran, Vice Chancellor of the University described the MoU as a dawn of a new era for the university and the country to harness the international expertise of IITA.
He said that 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.