Cassava value chain which included the production and processing activities of cassava tubers into edible garri and starch for packaging and distribution to the final consumers has received a boost in Ogun State as Premium Cassava Products Limited, Ososa Ijebu, (PCPL) a subsidiary of Nigeria Flour Mill Plc, recently initiated a partnership with Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye. The company which has the mandate of processing cassava tubers into products like Golden Penny Flour, Native Starch and Golden Penny Gaari was recently in OOU to propose collaboration for value addition in cassava processing.
As a follow up, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde led a team from the University to the Company facility in Ososa on Thursday, 9th July, 2020. Receiving the OOU Team, the General Manger of the Company, Mr. Elias Abdelahad who led other top echelons of the company including one of its Directors, who is also a senior Manager of the Nigeria Flour Mills Plc, Mr. Segun Falade, described the visit of the OOU team as a step in the right direction towards fast tracking the proposed collaboration.
Speaking further, Mr. Abdelahad gave a brief on the evolution of the company since 2006 till date. According to him, “Premium Cassava Products Limited was founded in 2006 as Thai Farms International Limited by Asians and Nigerian shareholders and was acquired by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc in 2012.” He added that the company which has the Nigeria’s largest processor of locally grown cassava tubers and known for consistently producing high-quality cassava flour, starch and Gaari, changed its corporate name to Premium Cassava Products Limited (PCPL) in April 2019. The change he said “was borne from the overall mandate to adopt a common identity across the agro allied businesses under the Division.”
In his response, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Deji Agboola reiterated that the team was at the facility for on-the-spot assessment by the technical team of the University in terms of what the company was doing and the extent of work required for the collaboration. He, thereafter, commended the Gbegande of Ososa Ijebu, His Royal Highness, Oba (Dr.) Adetoye Alatise, Ilufemiloye I, for deeming it fit to initiate the collaboration efforts between the University and Premium Cassava Product Limited. This according to the University helmsman lent credence to the strength of the community relations of the company and the level of acceptance and supports it enjoyed from the host community. Prof. Olatunde further disclosed that such gesture had placed the company on high stead in terms of credibility and reliability of its activities.
In his words, “we want to thank Kabiyesi for leading the company to the University for the commencement of this collaboration, where we promised to pay a similar visit to the company.” He added that “just like we mentioned the other time, collaboration through linkages for ground breaking in research and community service had become a tradition to the current administration. About a year ago our University won the British Council Grant in collaboration with the Swansea University for Financial Model Funding Option for Higher Institution in Nigeria, and of recent, we have a breakthrough in the production of Herbal Syrup in collaboration with Anjola Herbal Company for the treatment of possible symptoms of COVID 19.”
While reassuring the PCPL of the readiness of the University for the collaboration, Prof Olatunde noted that the University on its part had concluded every arrangement for the timely take-off of the partnership deal. He, thereafter, urged the company to kick-start the partnership by constituting a technical team that would work with the University in order to set the ball rolling. He added that the capacity and competence of the University were never in doubt as the human and material resources required for the success of the synergy were available in abundance in terms of quality and quantity.
“The large expanse of arable land in both Ago-Iwoye and Ayetoro campus where the Main Campus and the College of Agricultural Sciences are respectively located would turn out hundreds of cassava tubers in the next season when every issue must have been mutually agreed upon,” the Vice-Chancellor stated. “It is also worthy of mention that the partnership would no doubt become, in no distant future, a beehive of benefits to both parties.
Apart from the socio-economic gains accruable to both sides in the production and processing aspects of the value chain in cassava tubers, the training of students on SIWES programme would also be encouraged, as some of them would be available for industrial training and expertise,” Prof. Olatunde conluded.
Earlier in his speech, the Royal father of the host community and a facilitating stakeholder in the collaboration efforts, the Gbegande of Ososa Ijebu, His Royal Highness, Oba (Dr.) Adetoye Alatise described the partnership as a good omen to the company, the host community, and Ijebuland in general. Oba Alatise who disclosed that prior to the commencement of the collaboration, he was full of anxiety about the rumoured possible relocation of the company to a new site outside the state, due to better efficiency in sourcing raw materials.
The Royal father charged the Director and other stakeholders in the company to ensure the successful fruition of the collaboration. The highly elated Monarch also disclosed that he was convinced about the success of the relationship considering the sincerity and enthusiasm of the Vice-Chancellor and his team. He was also, hopeful for a favourable legal framework that would enhance the reality of the collaboration.
As a matter of tradition, the University team had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Monarch at his palace before the facility tour of the Premium Cassava Products Limited.
The high point of the visit was the presentation of Award of Honour to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde by His Royal Highness, Oba (Dr.) Adetoye Alatise in his palace, in recognition of the Vice-Chancellor’s distinguished leadership to the University, commitment to excellence, and service to humanity.
In the entourage of the Vice-Chancellor were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Prof. Deji Agboola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Ebun Oduwole, Registrar, Mr. Femi Ogunwomoju, University Librarian, Dr. Adebambo Oduwole, Bursar, Mr. Semiu Makinde, Acting Director, OOU Agricultural Research Farms, Dr. Nassir Adesola and other University functionaries.