The Kagoshima University of Japan and Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) have joined hands to implement a project that will see them other collaborators support farmers with technologies that will add value to their products as one way of diversifying from tobacco.
Currently, Malawi relies heavily on tobacco as its forex earner but recently, the “green gold” has been beset with numerous challenges that have left farmers not realising much from their effort.
With support from Smoke Free World Foundation, the two universities will lead a project that will help farmers of other crops realise more from their endeavours through introduction and adoption of new technologies in the supply chain.
Speaking recently during a meeting at MUST, Associate Professor Mum’delanji from Kagoshima University said her university is committed to share its technologies on various issues with their Malawian counterparts.
The two universities have since come up with a joint statement on partnership and cooperation framework which was signed by Kagoshima University’s Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Professor Hisashi IWAI and MUST Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata.
According to the agreement, Professor Iwai’s visit to Malawi was a sign of commitment from Kagoshima University in the partnership, adding that it presented unique opportunities for both universities.
Among others, the two institutions presented and discussed the general overview of their teaching and learning, research, and public and private strategic stakeholder engagement.
They also agreed to adopt a concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented post-official visit framework for transformative partnership, and consider the experiences of each university gained through regional, global and national interventions for the benefit of MUST and Kagoshima University and respective countries.
“An official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be initiated and finalised during the first part of 2019. The MOU shall initially be between the Faculty of Agriculture at Kagoshima University and Malawi University of Science and Technology and later extended to cover the whole Kagoshima University.
“The partners will identify more common areas of joint teaching and research to be included in the MOU. They will also be involved in the development and implementation of the Smoke Free World Foundation proposal but meanwhile the partners will exchange staff and students for mutual benefit,” reads the agreement in part.
It adds that the two universities will also undertake joint interventions for financial resource mobilisation for research, teaching and stakeholder engagement; promote and support South to North and North to South transfer of technology and engage in innovation ventures, and support commercialization of venture products.
In her speech after a presentation on MUST, Professor Malata said her university is pleased with the partnership as it will open up more doors of cooperation between the two universities.
“We have big ambitions of being a global player in the higher education sector and our partnership with Kagoshima University in Japan will help to make this dream come true. I am also pleased with the collaboration under the Smoke Free World Foundation. Our farmers need support in areas of technology to gain more from their sweat and the country too stands to benefit by exporting processed and value improved products. Currently we are exporting raw farm produce and the prices are very low hence the minimal impact on our GDP,” said Professor Malata.
The relationship with Kagoshima University was initiated by MUST’s Professor David Mkwambisi who has previously worked on some projects with Professor Vestergaard, a Malawian academic now based in Japan.