By Fred Ojeh
CONTEC Global Agro Limited (CGAL) and the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) are concluding the process of signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on organic farming geared towards assisting the Federal and State Governments boost Nigeria’s food security drive.
Speaking on behalf of Dr. Benoy Berry, the Chairman and Founder of CGAL, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Thomas Chackunkal, expressed optimism while conducting the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Abuja, Prof.Abdulrasheed Na’ Allah, round the company’s world class tissue culture facilities and bio-organic fertilizer plant in Abuja, over the weekend.
Prof Na’ Allah, who was impressed at the facilities lauded Dr. Benoy Berry for his pursuit for food security drive through organic farming production to meet Nigeria and Africa’s food security challenge, stressed: “I never knew that this this kind of world class agro facilities exist in Nigeria.”
While underscoring the urgency for the collaboration through the MoU, he said the University which is a renowned centre of excellence is willing to offer it’s vast expanse of land and manpower for the mutual benefits of both organizations and Nigeria, adding that the collaboration is indeed long over due.
The Vice Chancellor said: “The template on this MoU between us is collaboration and ensuring to the letter that we will not only combine to do intensive research and training, we will also put in place the mechanism to get the organic farm produce to Nigerians, Africans and the world.
“As a University, we must carry every stakeholder along and together like CONTEC, the Government, the Academia and the youths who are Nigeria’s future.”
According to him, CGAL, is taking the right step by investing in organic as it is the way to go considering the implications of chemicals and metals that can be cancerous to the body.
He acknowledged that the consumption of organic food is currently gaining traction even beyond the Western world and in other climes as most big supermarkets now have departments and sections for organic crops like bread, tomatoes, banana, potatoes etc.
Prof. Na’ Allah, described as incredible, the available facilities he saw at the Maitama CGAL facilities, explaining further that the MoU that is being consumated should have happened before now, but it is better late than never, pledging that both organizations shall pull it’s different resources and synergies to make the MoU work.
“I have done it before at the Kwara State University from where I’m coming from through the farm to wealth entrepreneurship programme as we were then the first public University to have done this which became a template for others to follow.”
In his remark, Dr. Benoy Berry, while thanking the Vice Chancellor for the auspicious visit and tour of the company’s agro facilities said the massive investment in the sector no doubt will ontribute helping Nigeria meet its overwhelming food demand and food security through deploying organic farming for safe and healthy crops for the country.
According to the founder, soil degradation through use of chemicals in crops has become a serious concern for government, the private sector and Nigeria’s teeming population, adding that the only way to reverse the potential danger that lies ahead is through soil remediation and manufacturing of bio-fertilizers.