Osinbajo, Gowon, Obasanjo discuss food security
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and one-time Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon(rtd) are to speak on food security and diversification through agriculture today at the 50th anniversary of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to the organisers, the event provides the leaders the opportunity to address more than 300 international, regional, and national experts regarding the country’s thinking towards agriculture, especially in the context of economic diversification. The Director General of IITA, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, stated that the world was waiting for Nigeria to take the leadership role in agriculture, expressing the hope that Osinbajo’s message would assist participants in understanding government’s agricultural development agenda.
His words: “Since our inception 50 years ago, IITA has evolved into a strategic partner for research-for-development in sub-Saharan Africa with over 200
scientists working in over 18 countries. This event is, therefore, an opportunity for us to celebrate our past successes with all our partners, friends as well as beneficiaries and reflect on future role in our efforts to transform agriculture in the next 50 years.”
The event is slated to showcase the strides made by researchers in collaboration with a range of partners and their impact on agriculture in the region as well as the direct result on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
Others include adoption of almost 400 varieties of cassava with increased yields and better resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, developing nearly 200 improved soybeans and 78 improved yam varieties.
Besides, 70 per cent of the over 300 maize varieties with IITA germplasm and drought-tolerant maize developed in partnership with CIMMYT had been adopted in 13 countries with projected economic gains of $907 million.
Chairman of the organizing committee, Dr. Kwesi Atta-Krah, stressed the importance of youth engagement in agriculture of the future. He noted: “It is also an opportunity for us to begin to look at the future of agriculture and the role IITA will be playing especially as it relates to emerging challenges of climate change, pests as well as diseases and rising youth unemployment.”
Meanwhile, the Acting President has enjoined Nigerians to imbibe love and tolerance for the progress of the nation.Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, he noted that the only way to move the country forward was through selflessness and compassion.
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