NRI has a long history of working in partnership with collaborators across the world, as we undertake research that makes a difference. In the past five years, NRI staff have worked in over 40 developing countries with more than 250 partners. Through NRI’s recently launched Food and Security Initiative (FaNSI) we are building on existing collaborations with partners in Africa and establishing new ones.
Prof Andrew Westby, the Director of NRI Director and Dr Tim Chancellor, NRI’s Director of Capacity Strengthening & Partnerships, recently visited two partner organisations in Nigeria. First, they were welcomed to Bayero University in Kano, north-west Nigeria, by Prof Adamu Tanko, Deputy Vice Chancellor Admin, Prof Jibrin Jibrin, Director of the Centre for Dryland Agriculture and other senior staff members. Productive discussions followed, with Prof Jibrin and his team on research collaboration under FaNSI, including ideas on joint supervision of PhD students and exchange visits of staff and students. Despite time limitations, it was possible to fit in a tour of the excellent laboratory, screenhouse and irrigation facilities which Bayero University has established through their World Bank-funded ACE project.
A visit was then made to Benue State University in Makurdi, north central Nigeria, where Prof Msugh Moses Kembe and Prof Westby signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Other members of the University Senior Management Team were in attendance as well as Dr Barnabas Ikyo, Director of the Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER). Subsequent discussions were held with Dr Ikyo and his colleagues, including representatives of CEFTER partner organisations from different stakeholder groups. Dr Ikyo showed the NRI visitors the impressive new CEFTER buildings which are due to open later in 2019 and a yoghurt making and water bottling plant which generates income and provides a learning experience for students. Plans were made for joint activities which will be further developed over the coming months.
The visits to Bayero University and Benue State University were short but highly productive, and collaborative activities are expected to start very soon. NRI has a long-standing partnership with the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, another FaNSI partner in Nigeria. The process of preparing a work plan with FUNAAB has already begun and arrangements are being made for visits to other FaNSI partners in Africa.