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OOU Signs MOU with Flour Mills

In furtherance of its partnership and collaboration with the private sector, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Premium Cassava Products Limited (PCPL), Ososa Ijebu for the production, processing and packaging of cassava tubers into edible garri, starch and flour.

Both the University and the company, which is a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and one of the largest processors of locally grown cassava tubers in the country, signed the agreement on April 7, 2021 at the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.

While the University would provide the large expanse of land for the agricultural project, the company will contribute the technical, human resource, financial and other logistics of the deal.

At the recent signing of MoU between the partners, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, led the Principal Officers of the University while the company’s General Manager, Ms Nike Tinubu, also led her own team.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted the significance of huge investments in agriculture towards enhancing the socio-economic development of the nation.
Prof. Olatunde noted that if Nigeria could engage in massive, mechanized and sustainable agricultural development, the country may not need to depend entirely on crude oil as the mainstay of its economy.

The Registrar, Mr. Femi Ogunwomoju, signing the MoU on behalf of OOU

“If we can produce and process our agricultural products, honestly, we don’t need oil to sustain us in this country. But then, big time players like your company should come in and expand and we should give support in whatever way we can,” he stated.

The Vice-Chancellor averred that huge benefits would accrue to the University Community through the agricultural project, including provision of employment opportunities for teeming youths, linkages and extension services, marketing, technological innovation, etc.

His words: “Honestly, we value this because it is the beginning of a project that if well handled, will blossom and become a money-spinner. It’s something that we are really interested in. We are glad that Kabiyesi facilitated it. We are ready to do everything within legitimate means to ensure that the project succeeds.”

Speaking at the ceremony, the PCPL General Manager, Ms Nike Tinubu, described the partnership between the University and the company as the “first of its kind.” She said such collaboration would further stimulate the interest of the youths in agriculture.

 Her words: “We feel privileged to be part of this union, especially the first of its kind with an institution of this calibre and I pray for a fruitful collaboration. I hope that we can leave a legacy for the younger ones,  to benefit and take this to a global level.”

Ms Tinubu, who applauded the University for its giant strides in delivering on its core mandates of teaching, research and community service, assured that the latest synergy would boost the enviable status of the frontline tertiary institution in Ogun State.

The General Manager also noted that the host community would derive benefits from the project, particularly in terms of jobs and trainings. According to her, the community will be well integrated in the scheme of things.

“We would be engaging the farmers that are in the community as in-grower farmers for the project. The agric students or those who may show some interest in agriculture can also come in as in-grower farmers. And with the in-growing project, we have training on good agricultural practices, we have training on value adding to your produce, we have training on marketing and we also have training in integration with communities,” she submitted.

On his part, the Gbegande of Ososa Ijebu, Oba (Dr.) Adetoye Alatise, who initiated the collaboratory efforts between the University and the company, said he was happy that the agreement was successfully signed. The monarch also said he was delighted the MoU happened during the tenure of Prof. Olatunde as Vice-Chancellor.

L-R: DVC (Admin.) Prof. Charles Adekoya; Registrar, Mr. Femi Ogunwomoju; Vice-Chancellor, Prof. G.O. Olatunde; PCPL General Manager, Ms Nike Tinubu; Gbegande of Ososa Ijebu, Oba (Dr.) Adetoye Alatise and DVC (Acad.) Prof. Deji Agboola, during the presentation of the MoU

Explaining why he recommended the company to partner with the institution, the traditional ruler remarked that he is not a shareholder in the company but remains a major stakeholder in worthy causes that would promote his domain.

Oba Alatise further expressed optimism about the prospects of agriculture in terms of job creation and revenue diversification. He affirmed that going by developmental trends in the country, the agricultural sector would become the driver for a more sustainable economic growth by 2030.

He said, “We should appreciate the fact that this partnership is happening during our lifetime, and particularly during the tenure of Professor G. O. Olatunde. Being in Ososa as Kabiyesi provides me the opportunity of mixing with my people all the time, including the younger ones.”

He further declared, “I’m particularly very happy about this project which, if I’m not mistaken, is unprecedented and whereby a company comes into the University and ventures into agriculture and the goal would be to the mutual benefit of the two sides. The students will be able to learn, the company will not fold up.

Here is a big, first-class blue chip company interested in cassava production. Whatever support we need to give them in terms of land acquisition, we should go all out. I’m particularly happy with the support that we have at OOU and the number of eggheads that have shown support.”

It will be recalled that in July, 2020, a delegation of the University visited the company’s facility in Ososa Ijebu for an on-the-spot assessment of its technical capabilities. The inspection was a follow-up to an earlier visit to the University by the company, which has the mandate of processing cassava tubers into products like Golden Penny Flour, Native Starch and Golden Penny Garri.

During its maiden visit, the company had proposed a collaboration with OOU for value addition in cassava processing.

In attendance at the event were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Deji Agboola; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Charles Adekoya; and the Registrar, Mr Femi Ogunwomoju, who signed the necessary documents on behalf of the University.

Also, Abe Mololuwa and John Teri, agronomist and commercial manager of PCPL respectively, accompanied the company’s General Manager to witness the ceremony.
The PCPL, known for consistently producing high-quality cassava flour, starch and garri, was founded in 2006 as Thai Farms International Limited by Asians and Nigerian shareholders. However, the company was acquired in 2012 by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and in April 2019, its corporate name was changed to Premium Cassava Products Limited (PCPL).

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