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The Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Prof Olusola Oyewole has commended the leadership of Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project (CAVA) II, for proper and timely release of fund for the smooth implementation of the multinational project operating in five African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda.
Professor Oyewole made the commendation while receiving the principal officers of CAVA II project who paid a courtesy visit to him on Friday. The Vice-Chancellor noted that the CAVA II project has been very effective in ensuring transparency and timely release of project fund to its partners as demanded by the financier, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
He said, “The issue that we thought would be a problem, which is the proper and timely release of fund has not been a problem. There has not been an issue with the funding, the funds are released timely and properly as demanded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”
While giving an update of the project’s activities in the past 11 months, The Project Director of Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, phase II, Prof Kolawole Adebayo, pointed out that the CAVA II project is an opportunity for the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), to be a leader in the rank of African institutions that are being tested for management of grants, adding that the project will also open the door for other African institutions.
“”Bill and Melinda Gates are very interested in this project. It is the Foundation’s main experiment in providing funds directly to African institutions for implementing Multi-country projects. We are mindful of this, so we ensure 100% transparency and accountability in the management of the project.”
Prof Adebayo went further to add that CAVA II project has maintained utmost meticulousness in ensuring proper management and timely release of project fund. “Proper fund management is very important in Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation, so we have made sure that the transfer of funds have been timely. Between May and September, everybody got their money as and when due. We also ask for prompt reporting of accounts and our partners have been providing that too.”
In the same vein, the Country Manager, Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, phase II, Nigeria, Prof Lateef Sanni highlighted some of the successes recorded by the project in Nigeria.
“We have signed an MOU with the biggest cassava processing company in Nigeria which is Thai Farms International. Thai farms International uses about 60 tons of cassava daily and we are mobilising farmers to deliver cassava roots to Thai Farms. Greentech Company also signed MOU with us to deliver roots to their factories and we have also signed MOU with Allied Atlantic Distillers Limited (AADL). We are working with 20 small medium industries who are benefiting from the Cassava Transformation Agenda Programme (CTAP). Those 20 SMEs are being strengthened by CAVA II in terms of logistics. So we are working with farmers and developing markets.”
Prof Sanni went further to add, “CAVA II has been having what we call strategic policy meeting. Last year in November, we had what we call National Starch Business Meeting, it was very timely because the cassava starch industry in the country is not being supported by the government. Most of the private companies in the sector see CAVA II as their champion to acquit them. We would be inviting the university management and the Vice-Chancellor to some of these dialogues occasionally. By Friday next week, we are going to be at First Blends to demonstrate to our SMEs, how HQCF can be used.”
He went further to highlight some service providers that CAVA II has been working with. “We have been working with Ogun state ADP, Ondo ADP, Ekiti ADP, Osun ADP, Oyo ADP, FUNAAB AMREC and Justice Peace and Development Mission. We also work with a national entity, Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON, among other. In the next two months we will be inviting all our service providers to tell us what they have been able to do in in 2014 and what they are going to achieve in 2015.”
Rounding off the meeting, the Vice Chancellor commended the leadership of Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, phase II for their commitment in implementing the multi-national project.