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Hillcrest to partner tertiary institutions on research, idea exchange

by newshubmag

In its bid to further bridge the gap between the classroom and industry, HillCrest Agro-Allied has concluded plans to sign a memoradan of Understanding (MOU) with interested tertiary institutions in Kwara State on ways to further enhance knowledge acquisition.

Speaking during an excursion by students of Kwara State University, (KWASU) and University of Ilorin, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Ayodele Alade lamented that Nigerian students are denied the opportunity of practical learning in conventional institutions.

“There is this dearth of employable graduates in the country because there is a disconnect between the industry and industry. We hope to fill this vacuum by sustaining what we have started today.

“This is part of our CSR and we aim at encouraging youths, especially undergraduates on the need to consciously take hold of their future and chart a way for themselves,” he said.

Buttressing this Dr. Akeem Olayemi Raji, a lecturer 1 in the department of Food Science and Technology disclosed that the excursion has opened up vistas of opportunities in terms of research collaboration, ideas exchange and lots more.

“There are a lots of things we can do together in relation to processing and material sourcing. What I deduce from what he said is that issue of material sourcing because all these rices have different species and the way they will respond to processing will also be a little bit different so we can research on that to identify the best one that we can introduce to farmers and the ones they can multiply so that they get better yield, better product quality and the likes.

“Parboiling is one of the key point of rice milling; if you under parboil or over parboil it will contribute to the number of head-rice that you will have and that is shortage on the part of the producer and that is one of the major challenge we are facing in Nigeria. This is why the imported rice have better whole rice, better quality than the local ones so we can also collaborate in that dimension in order to reduce the amount of headrice they get at the end of the day.

On her part, his counterpart from
department of Agriculture and Economics and Farm Management in the university of Ilorin, Dr. Toyin Ajibade, described the excursion as very insightful and a wonderful experience for the students.

She agreed that there is need to marry the industry with the classroom pointing out that higher institutions should go beyond churning out graduates.

In her words, “We want them to be employable it boils down to the employability and mobility of our students such that when they finish their studies in agriculture how are they able to fit into the industry that is one thing that this excursion has given us experience about and I believe everyone of the students have been spurred in one way or the other because it has sort of enrich their view of what agriculture is all about.

“Most of the time when we talk about agriculture what comes to the mind is probably the image of somebody who is carrying hoes and cutlass and riding a bicycle and working hard on a farm but it goes beyond that. Here in this rice processing mill we are able to see that there is so much more beyond what we have actually known agriculture to be traditionally.

“We hope that in the future we are going to come back here, you know from time to time where we are able to experience or rather give our students the exposure to what is actually obtainable when we talk about agriculture in the light of what it should be in Africa today. We want to say thank you to the organizers for putting this together and for inviting us, we really appreciate it and we look further to a more robust experience in the future.”

News Hub Mag! reports that the official signing of the MoU is expected to take place soon.

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