African Union Commission (AUC) is busy discussing a partnership deal with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). To this end, a top official of the Commission has visited IITA to wrap up the deal.
AUC’s Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Prof. Mohammed Belhocine, has visited IITA Headquarters for the purpose.
He was accompanied by the Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences Ibadan (PAULESI) staff and other dignitaries.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss partnership opportunities with the Institute’s management team and meet with the researchers and scientists involved in training PAULESI students.
IITA Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery (P4D), Kenton Dashiell, welcomed the team and gave an overview of IITA’s research activities. He said that the Institute ensures that research developments are extended to the farmers and other beneficiaries.
In his speech, Prof. Belhocine spoke of his special ties with the Institute’s focuses and goals. He commended the IITA’s agronomists, who have researched and helped the users understand the part of the soil that is good for germination to ensure Africa is food secure.
“I am very excited to be here and want to commend what the Institute is doing to make Africa independent in food security to ensure a sustainable continent,” Prof. Belhocine said.
Furthermore, he appreciated the Institute for the support given to the students of PAULESI in terms of building their capacities to produce healthy crops and improve the livelihood of farmers.
Pan African University President, Prof. Kenneth Matengu, said that hopes are high for both institutions to benefit from each other even though they currently have no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in place.
Therefore, he urged for a multi-linkage of activities around agricultural engineering, seed technologies, and entrepreneurship. “We are fully embracing this partnership, and we will support it to the best of our abilities’’, he said.