By: Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The Walter Sisulu University (WSU), of Eastern Cape town, South Africa, is ready to collaborate with the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in the areas of agricultural business, medicinal plants, waste products and food security.
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of WSU, Professor Rob Midgley, who was in FUNAAB, in the company of Professor Adebola Oyedeji and Dr. Vincent Nakin, sought to know how to turn farming in the rural area into an economy.
On how to turn a subsistent farmer into a small scale farmer, as well as how a small scale group of farmers can be turned into a commercial entity.
He added, “How do I generate business around agriculture? WSU provides a gateway from poverty to some kind of economic improvement for families”.
Describing agricultural engineering as the study of the provision of tools for food security, the scholar said that the section could provide benefits within same community, other than being taking into another community and benefitting from that community.
Professor Midgley stated further that WSU team was in FUNAAB, partly to see what kind of opportunities there are to tap from, as well as assess the way which things, as regarding agriculture, were done.
His words: “How can we ‘steal’ some of your ideas and implement them there?. How we can get projects that we collaborate and may be able to do a research work.
He stressed that both universities share some similarities, noting that they are not different from each other as the problems were alike, as well as the opportunities.
He further stated that both institutions could work on the same project and look for funding opportunuties.
Professor Midgley restated the transformation processes of the university, saying that three higher institutions of learning were merged in 2006 to produce WSU.
Professor Midgley, who said WSU was a comprehensive university, noted that it has four different campuses in four different cities and has produced four leaders in the Republic of South Africa.
He explained the rationale behind the merger, as being economical, so as to guard against having many Vice-Chancellors and Registrars.
Responding, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, said that the parley had set a template for both teams to work with, as the Deans and Directors were enjoined to articulate all the views mentioned and come up with a brief that would be examined by the University Management.
Professor Enikuomehin, while making a slide presenting about FUNAAB, he make mention about the mission and vision statements of the University.
He noted that the University was advancing towards a world-class status, a feat that could not be achieved in a day.
He highlighted the world-class agenda of the University to be: visionary leadership; commitment to quality, sustainable funding and fund management, research – relevance and quality.
Others are: teaching sckills and competences for meaningful learning, community engagement as well as collaboration, partnership and internationalisation.
He expressed satisfaction over the imported Kalahari goats from South Africa, saying that they were a pride to the University, which now possessed improved species named Kalahari Red Goats.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor showcased some economically-viable products the University was producing, through the Industrial Park Unit that produces Cassava products, such as ‘garri’, ‘fufu’, cashew nuts, FUNAAB bread, honey, palm oil, palm wine, fish and fish products, cocoa plantation as well as animal products which were poultry and beef, among others.
Professor Enikuomehin, who noted that FUNAAB was ready to collaborate with WSU, stated that in relation to building the image of the University to a world-class status, through entrepreneurship and industrial linkages, the University was expected to collaborate with other universities in project work, create a linkage with industries and have the opportunities.