The American University of Nigeria (AUN) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop an agricultural innovation hub in Adamawa State to serve the North-East region.
A statement from the university’s executive director, communications, Daniel Okereke, said the projects would give the IITA the opportunity to have a research station in the North-East. Crop testing and performance variation under different ecological conditions on land inside the campus of the AUN in Yola will enable the IITA to complete its ecological coverage of Nigeria.
“The AUN has contributed 100 hectares of our land for this effort and an office for the IITA. We can together develop radio and mobile programmes to educate women on nutrition and health, and farmers to increase agricultural productivity,” the president said.
The president of the AUN, Dr Margee Ensign and the deputy director-general, Partnerships for Delivery of the IITA, Dr Kenton Dashiell, signed for the two organisations. The signing ceremony on Monday was attended by the Adamawa State Commissioner for Agriculture, Umar Iya Daware, a representative of the vice chancellor of the Modibbo Adama University, Yola, Dr Abdullahi Tukur, members of the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API) and the AUN community.
Ensign described the AUN-IITA partnership as a life-changing opportunity, not only for both institutions, but far more importantly, the people, farmers, women, youth,and children in the North-East and all of Nigeria, adding, “In America we call this a marriage made in heaven.”
He emphasized that “without enough to eat and the ability for individuals to learn, a society cannot advance.
“The IITA is an award-winning, research-for-development organisation which goals are to reduce poverty and increase sustainable agricultural production to improve the lives of farmers and reduce poverty.
“We have come together to partner to work on these two fundamental challenges: food insecurity and poor education.”
IITA’s Dr Dashiell said, “We have some commonalities with the AUN, but we also have some distinct areas that would be highly complementary.
“We work on the business incubation platform, youth, agro-business, development and delivery, mechanisation, communication and capacity development.
“The IITA works with international and national partners to improve livelihoods. On the other hand, the AUN nurtures and gives knowledge, skills and practice of civic values, and has a reputation for offering assistance to its community and in blending community development with academic research.