Friday, 13 May 2022 06:36

Nigeria, Brazil cooperate to empower Nigerian academics for enhanced agric production

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L-R: M Makarfi, Ambassador of Nigeria to Brazil Presiding over the ceremony; Sonny Echone, Executive Secretary of Tetfund; Barbosa, President of FAUBAI; Yẹmi Akinbamijọ Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) at the signing ceremony L-R: M Makarfi, Ambassador of Nigeria to Brazil Presiding over the ceremony; Sonny Echone, Executive Secretary of Tetfund; Barbosa, President of FAUBAI; Yẹmi Akinbamijọ Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) at the signing ceremony

PRESS RELEASE

Within the context of the South-South Triangular Cooperation in the global south, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund TETFund) of Nigeria supports the strengthening of human capital within the Nigeria Academia. Just closing from a very successful outing in Brazil, the major outcome of the First Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa- (ARIFA) Symposium, which took place between 28th and 29th April 2022 at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil, is the signing of a Memorandum of understanding between the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Brazilian Association for International Education (FAUBAI) with the endorsement of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) of Nigeria.

The epic signing of the MoU took place on the margins of the symposium tagged “Pedagogic Retooling Strategy for Africa’s Agricultural Research and Innovation System: Lessons from Brazil.

The MoU was signed by the President of FAUBAI, Márcio Venício Barbosa and Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA with endorsement by Sonny S.T. Echono, the Executive Secretary (ES) TETFund. Present to oversee the solemnisation of the agreement was Mohammad Markarfi, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Brazil. The MoU further opens up forty federal universities ready to accept ARIFA Fellows from Nigerian tertiary institutions for postgraduate, post-doctoral and benchwork studies.

The event’s objective was the strengthening of Africa’s human capital for Agricultural Research and Innovation – starting with Nigeria. It was further revealed that the FARA-TETFund partnership is raising the bar to identify five hundred faculty members from Nigeria’s tertiary institutions for skills upgrade in the new TetFund-FARA-FAUBAI ARIFA Partnership. Earlier, the ARIFA Symposium brought together, for the first time, over 50 ARIFA fellows currently undergoing postgraduate training in different disciplines in six Brazilian universities. Also in attendance were six Faculty Focal Leads (FFLs) from TETFund Centers of Excellence (CEO), representatives of participating Brazilian universities, and Vice-Chancellors from Nigerian Universities.

While declaring the event open in his intervention, the Chief Guest of Honor - Mohammad Markarfi, Nigerian ambassador to Brazil, reiterated Nigerian Government’s commitment to supporting initiatives that have improved their core of food and nutrition, which ARIFA encapsulates. Highlighting the agro-eco cultural intersections that present Brazil as a natural partner to Nigeria, the Ambassador encouraged the fellows to remain dedicated to pursuing their studies as they understudy the Brazilian cultural ethics within the context of the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).

In his welcoming remarks, Demetrius David da Silva, Rector of the Federal University of Vicosa, represented by Raul Narciso C. Guedes - Dean of Post Graduate school, welcomed the ARIFA fellows and participants, expressing the commitment of UFV to continue to play a leadership role in the implementation of ARIFA in Brazil and the Global South as a whole.

While addressing the Symposium, Sonny S.T. Echono, the Executive Secretary TETFund, lauded the concept of ARIFA, and Nigeria was selected to lead the pack under the ARIFA initiative. He further expressed TETFund’s readiness to expand the program beyond the agriculture sector to other STEM-based disciplines, targeting at least 500 fellows in the next two years. The intended theory of change is that the infusion of six hundred fit-for-purpose fellows into the Nigeria academia would open up a fresh stream of capacities and twinning opportunities to build institutional capacities within the South-South Technical Collaboration context. The new stream from Brazil should provide fresh impetus to strengthen the pedagogic delivery of all participating public tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

While thanking all partners, particularly the UFV team that hosted the Symposium, Executive Director of FARA, Akinbamijo, said: “As we cannot continue to graduate thousands of agriculturists each year with food import increasing yet, the Brazilian advantage as an attempt at a pedagogic retooling of the Nigerian academia one person at a time, by imbibing the culture of excellence and success stories and to see how these can be replicated back home, he further expressed gratitude to the government of Brazil for lending a helping hand in the spirit of the south-south collaboration and our shared cultural heritage.

ARIFA is a joint FARA-TETFund-Brazil initiative with 100% funding support from the Governments of Nigeria and institutional support from Brazil.

 

 


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