On February 7, the University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Agricultural Sciences hosted its inaugural breakfast meeting at Taj Pamodzi hotel in Lusaka. Sponsored by Musika Development Initiatives, the meeting was convened to provide the School a platform to engage agricultural sector players in advancing areas of common interest. The event was graced by the guest of honor, UNZA Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba, and other guests from a cross section of organizations such as the government, agribusinesses, farmer organizations, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and academia.
In his remarks, Professor Mumba informed the meeting that UNZA is committed to advancing strategic partnerships with industry to solve problems faced by society through evidenced-based research. He highlighted a number of partnerships and initiatives that UNZA has embarked on to enhance its business outlook. These include the East Park mall Public Private Partnership and UNZA printer. The Vice Chancellor viewed the breakfast meeting as an important step towards strengthening dialogue with potential partners in areas such as student scholarship provision, infrastructure development, research and outreach.
The host of the occasion, the Dean of the School of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. Benson Chishala, gave a presentation that highlighted achievements of the school in the areas of teaching, research and outreach. In his presentation, he informed those in attendance that the School has, over the years, worked closely with a number of international collaborating partners but also desires to increase the number of partnerships with local companies which have been few and far between. Dr. Chishala acknowledged the fact that the School needed to attract knowledge and experience from local industry players through enhanced partnerships.
Other guests who spoke at the meeting include the Board Chairman of Musika, Mr. Chance Kabaghe and the Japanese Ambassador to Zambia, H.E. Mr. Ryuta Mizuuchi. Both spoke passionately about the need for the School of Agricultural Sciences to provide training and research outputs relevant to the sector. Before the end of the meeting, a number of invited guests commended the school for hosting such an unprecedented event and encouraged the School to continue making strides that would endear itself to a broad spectrum of players in the agriculture industry space.