The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and Vegefresh Company Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on manpower development in Agriculture. Signing the agreement on behalf of the University was the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako, who assured Vegefresh that the University had the wherewithal to fulfil its obligations under the agreement. Professor Balgoun said the University has a land endowment of about 10,000 Hectares, with over 95 per cent of its academic staff members already having PhDs.
Shedding light on the MoU, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed that FUNAAB is expected to provide Vegefresh with 100 Hectares of land, to carry out its farming activities while granting access to specific research findings and agricultural information, considered critical to the success of the programme. According to the MoU, Vegefresh would have its seedlings tested and certified by FUNAAB before applying same to its farms for environmental and health considerations, while deploying practical agricultural knowledge in ensuring that there is adequate con–trol of pest diseases on the farms for optimal yield of the crops. Vegefresh on its part is expected to support the University’s mandate by providing the needed infrastructure and tools for manpower development, among others. Speaking earlier, the Operations Manager of Vegefresh, Mr. Olumide Ojo, hinted that the main objective behind the MoU was “to develop a framework for value-chain system in Agriculture”. Mr. Ojo decried the fact that Nigeria, despite its abundance of resources in land and manpower, remained a net importer of food. The Operations Manager however disclosed that Nigeria is rated the second largest producer of tomatoes in the world and that Vegefresh had analysed the agricultural potentials of Nigeria, with a view of taking the nation to its deserved pride of place. Also speaking, the Chief Programme Officer, Vegefresh, Dr. Ade-mola Idowu, observed that the major constraint to developing technologies was the inadequate link between research findings and the farmers, saying Vegefresh, through the collaboration intends to tap into the wealth of experience of the University’s research, development and extension programmes, for optimal agricultural dividends to the nation.