The Kwara State's commercial agriculture initiative received boost with the consummation of a deal between the state government and Cornell University of New York, United States, on the Kwara State Agriculture Masterplan (KAMP).
The state's Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed , who led a delegation to the presentation of the KAMP document and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in New York, signed for the state while Cornell's Director of International Programme, Professor W. Ronnie Coffman, signed on behalf of the university.
The document presents a clear road map for the expansion , funding and impact of commercial agriculture in the state for the next five years. It is the product of a three-month collaborative research by Cornell Professors and their Nigerian counterparts led by the Vice Chancellor of Kwara state University, Professor Abdulrasheed Na'Allah.
Explaining the significance of the MoU, Coffman said Kwara made history by being the first state government in the world to succeed in partnering the university, renowned globally for its expertise in agriculture.
" It is the first time this university is signing an MoU with any state government. We are proud of this partnership and we are confident that the MoU will produce good results," he said.
Remarking, Ahmed assured that the state government would implement the document to the letter, pointing out that his administration would go beyond the conventional system of measuring input and output to measuring the impact of the measures being taken to "make Kwara the agriculture hub of West Africa.."
The governor commended the pioneering efforts of his predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki, in commercial agriculture, noting that the opportunity of continuity in governance in the state had made it possible for him to build on the foundation laid by the former governor.
Saraki appreciated the Ahmed administration for producing KAMP, expressing confidence that Ahmed , having served under the immediate past administration as commissioner for finance and later economic development , understood the vision and benefits of the agricultural revolution in Nigeria being championed by Kwara.
The Director of USAID in Nigeria, Ms Sharon Pauling pledged immediate support for the programme.
" We are looking into having a partnership with Kwara on rice and fish production. We are expecting to see Kwara as a leader in our drive to support food production in Nigeria," Pauling said.