VENTURES AFRICA- Kwara State government has signed a deal with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, on the Kwara State Agriculture Masterplan (KAMP).
The master plan provides a framework for the state to enhance agriculture productivity through availability and accessibility to quality farming inputs and upgrade of the value chain by attracting investments.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the State’s Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Cornell’s Director of International Programme, Professor W. Ronnie Coffman, on behalf of the University in New York.
The agreement represents the road map for the expansion, funding and impact of commercial agriculture in the state for the next five years.
The deal which was signed on behalf of the Kwara State’s commercial agriculture initiative is the product of a three-month collaborative research by Cornell Professors and their Nigerian counterparts led by the Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah.
Coffman said Kwara made history by being the first state government in the world to succeed in partnering with the university. Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is renowned globally for its expertise in agriculture.
“It is the first time this university is signing an MoU with any state government. We are proud of this partnership and we are confident that the MoU will produce good results,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state Governor indicated that the signing of the MoU with Cornell University is part of the state government’s quest to make Kwara state the agriculture hub of West Africa.
At the signing in New York, Ahmed said, “business in Nigeria makes sense’’. He declared that the state government intended to increase the amount of land under cultivation as plan have been concluded to improve farming input accessibility and mechanisation and ensure farming process re-engineering and re-orientation in the agriculture value chain.
“Our investments in infrastructure, plans for clustering our cooperatives along the value chain, educational reform and upgrades have definitely set us on that path to progress,’’ the governor said.
“We want to make our development relevant for the 21st century,” Ahmed said.
He asserted that by developing the master plan, the state had demonstrated and conveyed its seriousness for various communities of investors, manufacturers and donors to join its efforts.
The Director of USAID in Nigeria, Ms Sharon Pauling pledged to support the agricultural extension program.
“We are looking into having a partnership with Kwara on rice and fish production. We are expecting to see Kwara as a leader in our drive to support food production in Nigeria,” she said.