Head of the Abuja Station of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) , Gbassey Tarawali, says agriculture is presenting a very big hope for young people in Nigeria and Africa in general.
He was speaking while receiving Farm Mates in a welcome ceremony at the Institute. He gave a brief background on IITA’s activities, highlighting the model, approaches, and lessons learned.
He also spoke of youth employment through the agricultural value chains, insisting that agriculture presented hope for the youth in Nigeria and Africa in general.
Co-coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the Naija Farmer Reality TV Show, Dr Chigbo Okoli, and 15 Farm Mates of the maiden edition, visited IITA Abuja Station on a field tour.
IITA is a non-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, it improves livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security,increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity.
The essence of the visit was to see, in practice, some aspects of agriculture taught in the Farm House. It was also an opportunity to be educated on some latest technologies that IITA has developed.
Following Tarawali’s remarks, IITA Yam Seed System Specialist, Beatrice Aighewi, gave a presentation on recent development in yam seed systems. She emphasized the many opportunities that abound in yam seed multiplication.
Beatrice Aighewi is a yam seed system specialist. She is a Cameroonian / Nigerian citizen. She has a PhD in Agronomy from the University of Ibadan (1998). She obtained M.Sc. in Agronomy (1986) and B.Sc. in Agriculture (1983) from Ahmadu Bello University.
Prior to her appointment, she was a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Crop Science, University of Abuja since 2008. She was also a consultant with IITA between 2003 and 2007.
In his response, the show’s CEO thanked the management of IITA for the opportunity given to the Farm Mates to visit IITA. He explained the project’s aim and objectives to provide a solution to youth unemployment and resolve insecurity caused by youth restiveness and joblessness.
“Rounding up the over two months stay in the house with an IITA tour will go a long way in buttressing the teachings received from different farm owners. We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to learn more in IITA”, Okoli said.
The visit’s highlight was the practical aspect that saw the Farm Mates cutting and planting yam vines at the screen house. Aighewi gave them a detailed lesson on the new technology of yam seed multiplication using vine cuttings.
The Farm Mates also visited the cassava field, where they demonstrated their interest in going into the cassava value chain. The visit ended with a general tour of the Station.
Responding on behalf of the Farm Mates, Joyce Chinwende-Okoroji thanked the management and Staff of IITA. “We appreciate and will put in practice all that we learned in IITA today”, she assured.