The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and the Association of Agricultural and Industrial Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AIEN) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in rural agro-industrial development.
At the signing ceremony in the boardroom of RMRDC in Maitama, Abuja, the two bodies resolved to work closely on developing rural agricultural clusters for harnessing agricultural produce from across remote areas of the country.
RMRDC, represented by its Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. H. O. Ibrahim, noted that “RMRDC has for some years been working on development and utilisation of rural materials for industries. As part of this effort, the Council has come up with a cluster development strategy for which the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has adopted the Ward-Based Cluster Programme. In our effort to improve the strategy and give verve to the programme, we accepted the proposal to work out collaboration between RMRDC and AIEN for delivery and implementation.”
RMRDC which has offices in the 36 state of the federation will provide technical support while AIEN has developed a functional platform of entrepreneurs and industries that would catalyse the harnessing of targeted raw materials and products as well as guarantee off-takers for the resultant improved production. This last mile effort from AIEN will ensure the success of the collaboration.
President of AIEN, Dr. Chuku Wachuku explained that collaboration between his organization and RMRDC will have the immediate effect of galvanising raw materials production for Nigeria both for local consumption and for export; will create employment and wealth through public-private partnership and improve foreign exchange earnings.
According to him, AIEN is already collaborating with some states to drive agric cluster production in all LGAs of the country; employs between 250 to 500 in each cluster; collaborates with financial institutions to raise funds and with international agencies for capacity building.
According to the report in The Nation, the overall objective of the collaboration would be to assist the efforts of the government at driving food security, ensuring the local sourcing of sustainable production inputs and implements. It is hoped that the collaboration would also contribute in no small measure in driving the diversification efforts of various governments, especially in agro-industrial manufacture and produce export.
AEIN is a membership organization with a mission to empower the Nigerian people to alleviate unemployment. It stimulates and monitors development in medium scale enterprises. It serves as a vanguard for rural industrialization, poverty reduction, job creation and sustainable living. It also serves as a resource centre for information and access to industrial infrastructure such as layouts, incubators and industrial parks.