Kwara state, Cornell University sign MOU

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Nigeria’s Kwara Government and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences of Cornell University, New York, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Kwara State Agricultural Modernisation Master Plan.

Gov. Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara signed for the state while Ronnie Coffman, International Professor of Plant Breeding and Director of International Programmes of the university, signed for the institution.

Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, Vice-Chancellor, Kwara State University, Mr Razak Atunwa, the Speaker Kwara State House of Assembly and Rep. Mashood Mustapha were present during the signing of the agreement in New York.

Ahmed said on the occasion that “business in Nigeria makes sense’’ and that Kwara had all the country needed to be strong.

He said that the state government intended to increase the amount of land under cultivation.

The governor said that plans had 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.

He said the master plan would provide the 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.

“We want to make our development relevant for the 21st century.

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“I hope you now have a clear understanding of our thought process in initiating this master plan. As we go on , the business case for investment in agriculture in Kwara State, Nigeria, will become more glaring,’’ Ahmed said.

He said 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.

Also, the Speaker of the state assembly, Atunwa,described the occasion as unique.

Sen. Bukola Saraki, the former Governor of Kwara, said Ahmed had undertaken something quite extensive.

“I must say however, that it is not as daunting as it is necessary and for that, I commend their collective courage and especially His Excellency’s vision in admitting what needs to be done and getting to work immediately,’’ he said.

Saraki, whose speech was read by Dr Abubakar Amuda-Kannike, said that the Kwara master plan was a compilation of all the necessary factors of sustainable success for agriculture in Kwara.

“It is a holistic approach that makes all the key stakeholders in the agricultural value chain face up to the challenges and immense opportunities in their areas of expertise,’’ Saraki said.

In a remark, Coffman said that with the signing of the agreement, Kwara became the first in Africa to enter into such agreement with the university. (NAN)