Scientists at the University of Ilorin and their counterparts at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), are finalising arrangements to develop an improved rice variety with medicinal potentials against cancer. A report in the University of Ilorin Bulletin on Monday stated that this was the outcome of the collaboration between the two institutions for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed recently. As per the report, the N50 million projects would be carried out over a four-year period and expected to be funded by the National Research Fund of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET-Fund). It said that the project was aimed at enhancing the well-being of rice farmers and improving the health conditions of consumers in the country.
The main research collaborators include University of Ilorin, Prof. Samuel Onasanya, an education technology and training expert, Dr Michael Awolola, an industrial chemist of Ilorin, Prof. Amos Onasanya, a biochemist, geneticist and molecular plant pathologist of ABUAD, Prof. O. O. Ojo and an animal health expert, Dr Phillip Okiki. The Vice-Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Prof. Michael Ajisafe, said that, “we are happy to partner with Unilorin, which is the most peaceful university in the country and we are sure that based on its antecedents, the partnership will work.” According to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of research, technology and innovations, University of Ilorin, the research collaboration was in pursuit of the university’s sustained bid for all-round development of the nation’s education system. “The country stands to gain a lot from it but this MoU should not be an ordinary paper MoU; it must be practical and not just theoretical.” he stressed. The MoU with the University of Ilorin was the 13th the institution would be signing into with other universities both in Nigeria and abroad since its establishment seven years ago.
Other Research Collaborators on the project are Dr. M. Sow, a Rice breeder and Geneticist from Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice), Dr. F. Nwilene, Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice) and Dr. Abo M. Emmanuel, a Rice Expert from the National Cereal Research Institute. Also expected to join the Research team is Dr. Elizabeth P. Ryan, a toxicologist from Colorado State University, USA.