As a means of supporting the call for economic diversification through agriculture in order to ensure food security, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings for the nation, the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Food for All Initiative (FFAI), for the establishment of a university farm.
Speaking during the event organised under the auspices of the Faculty of Agriculture of the university, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, stressed the importance of agriculture in economic development, noting that agricultural activities could be the panacea to the burden of hunger and poverty in the nation if relevant stakeholders take advantage of the vast arable land the country is endowed with.
Professor Nwajiuba further explained that the Faculty of Agriculture was established in the University with over seven academic programmes to serve as agricultural research hub where research findings and new developments in the sector would be made available to farmers at no cost within the immediate university environment and beyond for improved farming and bounty yields.
He maintained that universities are established to provide solutions to problems in the society, adding that FUNAI would surely live up to expectations in that regard, hence the wide range partnerships the university has been entering with local and international organisations
Giving insight into the partnership, FFAI’s spokesperson, Nnenna Okoro, said the organisation was targeting the entire six geopolitical zones of the country, noting that FUNAI was chosen in the Southeast due to the availability of arable land and eco-friendly activities in the area. She further stressed that the organisation would also be providing technical services to the university farm.
Expressing their readiness for the take-off of the farm, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Johnny Ogunji, said the faculty was fully equipped with relevant resources for accelerated food production. He noted that the beauty of the partnership was that it would also provide jobs and serve as laboratory for practical oriented courses to the students of the Faculty, adding that students who work in the farm will be adequately remunerated.
The MoU is said to beyet another milestone in the administration of Prof. Nwajiuba, in an apparent drive to make FUNAI “an institution that grooms and turns out responsible citizens and solution providers as graduates”.