Representative of the Vice-Chancellor, the Director (IFSERAR), Prof. Akin Omotayo (Arrowed), with other members of the University management team applauding the consortium’s interest in partnering with FUNAAB.

Representative of the Vice-Chancellor, the Director (IFSERAR), Prof. Akin Omotayo (Arrowed), with other members of the University management team applauding the consortium’s interest in partnering with FUNAAB.

All is now set for a collaboration between a Greenlife Agriculture Group and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone based in Beijing and the University in the areas of Agricultural mechanisation, training, trade, cassava production, processing and exporting.

The Chairman, SINO-Nigeria Business Networking Limited, Chief Charles Adebiyi, stated this recently while unfolding the immense opportunities to be gained from the collaboration.

According to him, University cooperation could be achieved through the exchange of students and staff, particularly in the areas of agricultural development.

He commended the neatly pruned lawns of the University, saying that it is practical-oriented, such that teaching and research is seen and felt.

Welcoming the prospective collaborators to the University, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented by the Director, Institute for Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Professor Akin Omotayo, gave a brief history of the University and its evolution into a full fledge, autonomous institution of higher learning.

He said since Nigeria had become China’s number one trading partner in the Africa sub-region, China is now one of Nigeria’s top ten trading partners, adding that Chinese businessmen were increasing showing interests to invest in Nigeria.

The Vice-Chancellor recalled the Nigeria-China Investment Forum held recently in Beijing where over nine MOUs were signed between Chinese investors and the Nigerian government as well as private sector operators in the areas of power, agriculture, industrial zones, automobile, science and technology. He added that President Goodluck Jonathan’s appreciation of the gesture led to the decision that serious-minded Chinese businessmen investing in Nigeria should now be given up to 10 years entry visa.

To reciprocate the gesture, the Chinese government had been in the forefront of helping Nigeria to diversify its economy by increasing its volume of agricultural imports from the country, he added.

According to him, “Already 80,000 tonnes of cassava chips have reached China. Nigeria has already received another order from China to supply 102,000 tonnes in the next 10 months”.

He, however, stated that there are about 200 Chinese companies doing business in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria needed more direct investment. His words, “FUNAAB is interested in agro and allied industry. FUNAAB is willing to facilitate your business activities in SouthWest Nigeria which falls within our mandate area and we are willing to provide land as your partner and other things that will ease your investment in Ogun state”. Earlier, the leader of the Chinese team and the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ogun-Guangdong FTZ, Professor John Xoe, decried the deplorable level which China was about 20 years ago, where graduates were unwilling to work as farmers in rural areas.

He added that, in the last 10 years, the graduates are now willing to work in the rural areas as all the agricultural processes have been mechanised.

Professor Xoe said he wished that Nigeria did not go through the long process of attaining a developed status, as it took China and some western countries almost between 30 and 70 years. He added that with the collaboration, Nigeria should not spend up to 10 years before getting to where China is presently in terms of development.

He said the consortium has collaborated with countries like Israel, Germany and United Kingdom and looked forward to promising business relationship with Nigeria.