Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) has expressed optimism that the university will greatly benefit from the various programs and projects offered by Regional Universities Forum (RUFORUM) for capacity building in agriculture.
Vice Chancellor for LUANAR Professor Emmanuel Kaunda made the remarks Tuesday evening after organizing a dinner for RUFORUM with the aim of orienting the forum on the background, activities, weaknesses and strengths of LUANAR at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC).
“So what we needed to do is to get advantage of their presence here and give them a glimpse of what LUANAR is all about. Also, provide some background as regards how and why we have great affinity of working very closely with the forum,” Kaunda explained.
The vice chancellor expressed optimism that after the interaction, the LUANAR will now have a greater opportunity of striking deals, enter into partnerships and collaborate closely with the forum and other departments.
“For example, present here is the department of science and technology of South Africa which fund research and we have a bilateral relationship with it. We hope through this, we should be able to interrogate with their embassy or the high commission here to see how we can engage each other on that.
“We also hope that the forum itself would support us in building up capacity to get some proposals and projects running and staff exchange programs,” he said.
Kaunda disclosed that during the event, LUANAR had a chance to showcase some of its success stories to the forum.
He said one of the success stories and lessons was on how public sector interacts with universities and how public sector can work with the private institutions.
“We have showcased a project that we have been running with Sothguru, a consulting company in India, Cornell University in the US and LUANAR supported by USAID. In this project, we partnered a local private sector seed company called CPM to buy seed which we had farmers grow around Bunda community.
“So this is a huge success story as we have shown them we, as a university, can partner with private institutions to generate technologies that can improve farmers’ livelihoods by increasing their incomes,” Kaunda said.
Deputy Secretary for RUFORUM Dr Moses Osiru said it was advantageous for LUANAR to have its vice chancellor on the RUFORUM board.
“He said as a university that works in agriculture LUANAR is expected to benefit as the forum brings together all the other universities which will help LUANAR learn from some of the best practices available at the other universities.
“For example, many of the universities present here work in the area of aquaculture and fisheries. And recently, LUANAR created an African Centre for Excellence which it is using to support develop skills as well as produce young graduates who will be able to solve problems facing Malawian and African farmers,” Osiru said.
RUFORUM is a regional network of 66 universities across Africa that brings together university vice chancellors with the purpose of creating young graduates who would be able to work within the African communities and solve problems faced by African farmers.
The event was graced by Vice Chancellors from Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, the department of science and technologies of South Africa and the foundation for capacity building in Zimbabwe amongst others.
“We are a young university but we are amongst well established universities like University of Makelele and some well established universities in Kenya.
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