We Can Manage Multi-Million Grants, Says VC

The Vice-Chancellor, and President, Association of African Universities, Professor Olusola Oyewole had stated that FUNAAB was very experienced in managing and participating in large, multi-country research and development projects such as C:AVA I and C:AVA II. The Vice-Chancellor spoke during the Project Launch and Business Meeting of the Cassava: Adding Value to Africa II Project (C: AVA II), held recently in Lagos.

He acknowledged that “the choice of Nigeria and a Nigerian institution to coordinate the C:AVA II Project had been made easy by the recognition of the effort our country had made in the last few years of transforming our Agriculture through the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), the relentless positioning of Nigeria’s Agriculture in the right perspective by our Honourable Minister, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and our drive of a Cassava Transformation Agenda in particular, as befitting the world’s leading nation in Cassava production and consumption”. He described FUNAAB’s work in the cassava sector as historical, noting that the University had worked in partnership with several world-leading institutions, many of who were represented at the launch, to chart a course for the development of the crop.

Meanwhile, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina has launched the Cassava: Adding Value to Africa II Project, as he described the cassava industry as wealth and job creator that could turn around the economy of the country. The Minister, who was represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adetunji, stated that the Cassava Transformation Agenda (CTA), which was developed by his ministry was aimed at commercialising the cassava industry in five different value-chain, in order to bring the glory of cassava up to the global competitive level.

The Minister described Nigeria as the largest producer of cassava in the world, with an annual production of 40 million metric tonnes, representing 19 per cent of the world’s production. According to Dr. Adesina, Nigeria, being the leading producer, it is expected that the cassava industry alone would generate an estimated 1.3 million jobs among Nigerians, while it is envisaged that the number would increase. He stated that the major feature of the CTA was the production of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), which is aimed at promoting the Cassava Bread value-chain that would reduce the annual import bill being incurred on wheat and encourage local production of cassava flour.achieving this goal accordingly, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had embarked on the mission of providing the enabling environment for the commodity and its derivatives.

He added that the intervention of his ministry to the CTA initiative include the establishment of Cassava Bread Development Fund, upgrading of Small and Medium Scale enterprises, floating of 22 medium high quality cassava flour plants and the training of Master Bakers. The Minister commended Professor Lateef Sanni, Country Manager and Dr. Kola Adebayo, Project Manager of C:AVA II, both of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), for the impressive handling and execution of C:AVA I Project, which culminated into the newly-launched C:AVA II Project.

Highlights at the occasion include special messages from Professor Andrew Westby; Orin Hasson, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; of goodwill messages by partners from Ghana; Tanzania; Uganda; Malawi and the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom; and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan as well as panel discussion on the cassava sector in Nigeria.

Last Updated on May 2, 2014 by admin

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