Premier Agribusiness Academy (PAA), Nigeria’s leading centre for learning has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to drive food security in the country.
Francis Toromade, director-general, Premier Agribusiness Academy made this known during the signing ceremony which took place at the premises of the International Headquarters of IITA in Ibadan recently.
According to him, the purpose of the agreement is to increase human capacity development through practical impactful agricultural practice in the areas of maize, cowpea, soybean, yam, and cassava cultivation among others.
“What PAA will do as part of this partnership is to make sure that all the commodities and crops that are the focus of research in IITA like cassava, maize, soybean, and yam among others get private sector awareness and patronage,” Toromade said in a statement.
“Some stakeholders within the agricultural industry are not aware of what IITA is doing in terms of research and how it can impact their farming practice,” he added.
Toromade blamed the low yield per hectare of soybean in Nigeria on farmers’ low technical knowledge.
He further explained that, with the same farmland size, South Africa generates 1.97 tons of soybean per hectare while Nigeria generates 0.97 tons per hectare, which he attributed to poor farm practice and technical knowledge.
The director-general said that PAA is trying to leverage the partnership agreement with IITA to bridge the gap between the farmer, the private sector, and the quality research done in the institute.
He added that when the gap is bridged, farmers, as well as other stakeholders, will put into practice the cutting-edge research findings of IITA, yield per hectare will increase and farming will become more profitable and attractive in the country.
Speaking also during the ceremony, Kenton Dashiell, DDG -partnership for delivery, IITA said with the MoU, IITA, and PAA has agreed to exchange information in areas of human capacity development on the most impactful practices (MIP) on IITA’s core mandate crops that will impact private sector stakeholders in the agricultural value chain and farmers in Nigeria thereby bringing about higher produce, farmer profitability and ultimately food security in Nigeria.
While explaining the purpose of the collaboration Ayo Oluwa Okediji, an information technology consultant with PAA explained that the collaboration is aimed at driving productivity and profitability in agribusiness by leveraging digital technologies and other innovative solutions to aid proper dissemination and transfer of IITA’s research results into effective policy and practice across the agri-food value chain.
According to him, the MoU will leverage the technical strengths of both parties for the development of agribusiness and farmer profitability in Nigeria adding that, while IITA is known for quality research in agriculture, PAA is renowned for its private sector agribusiness capacity-building projects.
Okediji further explained that, while IITA carries out quality research with groundbreaking agricultural discoveries, its research output needs to be properly disseminated to the private sector stakeholders and local farmers for practice notwithstanding commendable efforts by the IITA Business Incubation platform, designed to ensure that results from research are transferred into practice by end-users.
He added that, with this IITA/PAA collaboration, more stakeholders within the agribusiness value chain can be reached and empowered through access to research results that are domiciled with IITA which can improve farmers’ livelihood.
‘The MoU will help PAA support what IITA is presently doing in terms of capacity building and extension to extend research results. This is one of the core values that PAA is bringing into the partnership” he said.
Similarly, Frederick Schreurs, CEO, IITA Business Incubation Platform further explains IITA BIP’s founding objectives to stimulate product development and provide expertise and training in commercial agriculture and farm management, and opportunities for market expansion, which involves identifying pioneering technologies, developing partnership agreements to leverage their potential, refining them into products, test-marketing these products, training partners in manufacturing and marketing.