The Gates Foundation has commended the University, describing it as the nerve centre of its work in Nigeria.
The Programme Officer of Gates Foundation, Orin Hasson stated this in an exclusive chat with FUNAAB Bulletin, after his courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole.
Assessing the performances of the Foundation’s pet project, “Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA) in Africa and Nigeria in particular, Hasson pointed out that FUNAAB has been “the centre of our work here in Nigeria”.
He stressed that through its leading role in C:AVA, the University has helped the nation tremendously, by coordinating and managing the Nigeria component of the project.
His words, “The University has helped Nigeria pretty much. It helps to coordinate five or six different sub-contractors that need to get the work done. The University manages the componentof the project C:AVA, so it is really the centre of our work here in Nigeria”.
Speaking further, Hasson disclosed that apart from Nigeria, C:AVA projects are on-going in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and in Malawi, pointing out however, that Nigeria’s cassava flour is the most advanced in quality.
According to him, “I oversee the Cassava Adding Value (C:AVA) project in Africa, which is done partly through the University here, which manages the Nigeria component of the project”.
“It is also being done in four other countries; that is Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, but Nigeria is the most advanced in terms of high quality cassava flour that we work on”, he added.
Explaining his mission to the University, Hasson disclosed that “I have come to kind of see where we are on the large flash dryer that are required for cassava processing”.
“There are a couple of companies here in Nigeria that has made advancement. Professor Sanni (Professor Lateef Sanni) and Bernard (Bernard Siwoku of C:AVA Nigeria-Secretariat) and Kola (Dr. Kola Adebayo of C:AVA Ghana) has been working with them. I am here to see the progress and understand the plan of going forward”, he added.
The Programme Manager of Gates Foundation, who disclosed that he was visiting FUNAAB for the first time, said the “University is beautiful, very large and I understand that there is a lot of new expansion going on, which is very nice”.
Asked whether he’s been eating Nigeria cassava flour moreso, that he said “it is the most advanced in terms of high quality”, Hasson bursted into laughter and declared, “I have not been eating as much cassava as I need to, so hopefully on this trip I will get some Fufu and some Garri here but not yet”.
Receiving Hasson earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole commendedthe Gates Foundation for contributing to the socio, economic development of Nigeria and Africa in general, through many masses oriented projects, including C:AVA.
He stated that FUNAAB and Gates Foundation shared the common goal of bettering the lot of Nigerians by tackling food insecurity.
The Country Manager of C:AVA, Prof. Lateef Sanni and his Ghanaian counterpart, Dr. Kola Adebayo joined the Vice-Chancellor to receive Hasson.
SOURCE: The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
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