Lifecom Global Services, an agricultural and business consulting firm, has indicated its readiness to partner with the University of Ilorin on the establishment of a guava plantation on the campus.
A team from the firm, led by Prof. Saka Ibiyemi of the Department of Chemistry, University of Ilorin, expressed the intention in Ilorin on Monday during a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Biodun Eniola, said that the guava plantation would involve the cultivation of a special variety of guava called Jumbo Juicy Guava (PSIDIUM GUAJAVA).
“There seems to be no plantation of the guava variety yet in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Eniola said that each fruit of the guava variety could weigh between 200 and 600 grammes, adding that at maturity, a single tree of the guava variety could produce between 24 and 60 kilogrammes of fruits.
He said that apart from the financial benefits, the guava plantation would be beneficial to students the Faculty of Agriculture, particularly those undergoing farm practical training.
He said that the collaboration would entail large-scale cultivation of the guava variety, which could involve an arrangement for outright sales of the fruits to the university.
Eniola described guava as the best source of Vitamin C, saying that the fruit contained 228mg of Vitamin C, which was equal to 338 per cent of the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults.
Responding, Abdulkareem welcomed the proposed initiative, saying that the university authorities had been looking into how to make judicious use of the vast land of the institution.
He said that if the project only required the allocation of a portion of the land, he would have approved the proposal even before the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) document was ready.
He said that his administration would support the project because of its potential benefits to the students and the institution as a whole.
Earlier, the company’s adviser, Prof. Ibiyemi, said that the project would enable the university authorities to encourage the students to go into commercial agriculture.
He said that when the students were able to perceive the qualities of the guava plantation, they would be stimulated to engage in commercial agriculture.
Ibiyemi, who described the guava variety as a product of research, said that the university would also want to carry out research on how to improve the nutritional value of the crop.