National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) is exploring a partnership deal with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) aimed at transfering technologies for agricultural solutions for the Nigerian population.
To make it happen, a team of scientists, engineers, and administrators from NASENI has visited the Institute.
The visit has established a formal relationship between IITA and NASENI to design, develop, and transfer technologies for agricultural solutions for the Nigerian population. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed to this effect.
The team comprised of the Coordinating Director Planning and Business Development at NASENI; Nonyem Onyechi, Emmanuel Ajani, Deputy Director Engineering Infrastructure; Folashade Folahanmi, Assistant Chief Engineer; and Emmanuel Abur, Chief Engineering Infrastructure Directorate.
Others include, Noratu Sanni, Chief Scientific Officer; met IITA’s Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery, Kenton Dashiell; Debo Akande, Head of Agribusiness and Mechanization; Femi Akeredolu, Deputy Head Facility Management Services (FMS); and Morenike Abu, Legal and Compliance Manager IITA.
Dashiell gave a brief history of IITA and the countries in which it operates across Africa. He stated that beyond the research and administrative arms of IITA, IITA also has a strong arm of partnerships for delivery, which will all meet the needs of NASENI’s visit.
He said IITA works on soybean, maize, banana/plantain, cassava, yam, and cowpea but can also work on any crop based on demand.
“We even work on fish and animals. And on fertilizers, which is part of the reason you are here. We work on anything that will make farmers successful’’, he said, stressing the advantage of long-term partnerships for sustainable project delivery.
“The signing of this MoU today will build a platform for continued work between IITA and NASENI way after the current participators are long gone”, he adds.
Responding, Nonyem thanked IITA for the warm reception, lauding the Institute’s efforts over the years in providing solutions to poverty and hunger and the degradation of natural resources in Africa.
“This collaboration will enhance cooperation, joint research for development, and technology transfer between NASENI and IITA. Coming together today, we firmly believe that IITA and NASENI will form a leading research partnership that will provide home-grown technologies to increase food security and reduce rural poverty in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa as a whole’’, she said.
NASENI currently liaises with Saputra Global Harvest, an Indonesian company engaged in agriculture, fisheries, and animal husbandry, based in Jakarta, in the transfer of coal-based fertilizer technology and the development of a coal-fertilizer production plant in Nigeria.
NASENI felt the need to collaborate with IITA on implementing field trials for crops such as maize, yam, and cassava; to ascertain the efficacy and suitability of the coal-based fertilizer produced by Saputra to Nigerian soil.
The initial request for collaboration was sent to IITA in January 2022, including the need for a bio-digester and the cassava peeling projects of the agency. IITA expressed its willingness to collaborate with NASENI in an agreement that entails using IITA’s facilities, staff equipment, and vast land space for the pilot tests.
Nonyem signed the MoU on behalf of Prof. M.S. Arunah, the Chief Executive of NASENI, and Dashiell signed on behalf of IITA. They further visited IITA biogas plant and learned of the biogas technology developed by FMS and the Y-SWEP youth. They were more than happy to replicate the technology back in Abuja.