German Minister hails INES Ruhengeri, Signs MOU to bolster Agriculture Sector through Applied Sciences
Written by: Dias Nyesiga
Sunday, September 8th, 2019, 11:00
Tightly embedded in classic teaching, universities across Africa are grappling to transform into universities of applied sciences which are demanded by the workforce. Their failure starts from inability to take harder strides towards this transformation.
“Universities in Africa are delivering too much theories, it’s like people study without knowing what they are studying, they teach without knowing what they are teaching, people establish institutions without aiming at having an impact on community development,” Said Fr. Dr. Fabien Hagenimana, Vice Chancellor, University of Applied Sciences-INES Ruhengeri.
But for those who have had the gusto to try like University of Applied sciences-INES Ruhengeri the success has elevated them(INES Ruhengeri)to an institution using its applied research to bolster government’s goal of transforming the economy to knowledge based mainly through-Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-STEM.
“For us we found out that universities of applied sciences want to be catalyser of community development and we said this is what we want”, he said.
The decision to transform to applied sciences has seen the university strengthening its partnership with Rhineland Palatinate which prompted Dr. Volker Wissing, Rhineland Palatinate’s minister for economy, transport, agriculture and viniculture’s visit. The Minister visited the University for the second time on August 29. The first was in May 2018.
The visit by Minister Volker was meant to harness the cordial relations between INES and the Rhineland Palatinate through the Bingen University of Applied Sciences and pave way to create partnership to support the university to use applied sciences to solve challenges in communities.
The Minister said that Rhineland Palatinate signed a letter of Intent with Ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources to partner in areas of Viticulture, smart agriculture and farmer cooperative promotion, which he says INES Ruhengeri will be at the helm of its implementation through providing scientific solutions to the sector.
During the visit, the German delegation witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between INES Ruhengeri and Bingen University of applied Sciences.
“The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Bingen University of applied sciences and INES Ruhengeri is our start point to implement the partnership we have signed through a letter of intent to strengthen our relations mainly in the agriculture sector,” Minister Wissing said during the visit to the University.
The MOU signed by Dr Fabien Hagenimana on behalf of INES and Prof. Dr. Clemens Wollny for Bingen is meant to specify areas of collaboration, fields of collaboration, exchange of staff, exchange of students, joint research projects carried out by researchers from both applied sciences universities and exchange of information and publications.
“This partnership is key to open for future development. We will use this opportunity of partnership to link up with institutions, private sector, public sector in Rhineland Palatinate to invest in viticulture, farmer cooperative proton and smart agriculture,” Hagenimana said.
Implementation of the project
Implementation of the understanding will be executed through Research, community engagement and increasing productivity.
He says that they will link up farmers through research which is done with farmers rather than one done in closed laboratories so as to produce solutions for their problems in their career as farmers.
And we will link with them as we do our applied research, he says
“If we talk about smart farming, it’s about bringing technology in the agriculture sector,” he said adding that the information on soil ,weather , market productivity will be produced by INES and given to farmers to use to increase productivity through using less resources.
The university will also see experts from Bingen University and across Germany coming in to strengthen the implementation of the understanding manly in viticulture which is likely to help address some of the challenges the country is facing due to climate change.
On viticulture which is also part of the understanding, Hagemimana said it is possible to practice grapes farming considering the nature of the land and soils, while climate change issues are likely to have some crops disappear as they fail to cope up and grapes can replace them.