IITA-Kalambo hosts French delegation in DRC
Last 29 March, a 3-person delegation from the French Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Rector of the Catholic University of Bukavu (UCB) visited the IITA Kalambo Station, South Kivu Province, DRC. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize themselves with the research-for-development activities of IITA in South Kivu as part of a build up to commissioning a French Institute in Bukavu. The Institute will, among others, facilitate processing of visa application to France and other Schengen countries. The delegation was led by Prof Paul Kadudu, the Rector of UCB.
The delegation was received by Dr Chris Okafor, the Officer-in-Charge of the Station. In his welcome remarks, he outlined the research for development activities of the Station in collaboration with various national and international partners. In particular, he commended UCB for its support to and close collaboration with the Station. A guided tour of the Station was conducted for the visitors during which they saw the Institute’s laboratory facilities and agro-processing activities. They interacted with staff and the Agripreneurs in the course of the tour. They were impressed with the modern equipment for advanced analysis in soil, molecular biology, and rhizobiology.
The IITA laboratories, which serve the entire Great Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo) especially on cassava diseases, are among the best in DRC and in the region.
Impressed by what they saw and heard, members of the delegation expressed their willingness to support strong collaboration between IITA-Kalambo and the University of Montpellier. The delegation also had an exciting tour of the processing facilities run by the youth agripreneurs and enjoyed their cassava and soybean cookies.
In his parting comments, G.H. de Cawdolle, a member of the delegation, invited IITA to visit the French Institute that will be commissioned in Bukavu for the North and South Kivu Provinces to explore areas of collaboration. Cawdolle left the following comment in the visitors’ book, “Heureux de découvrir un centre aussi exceptionnel sur les terres de mon enfance” which means in English “very glad to discover a very exceptional center on the land of my childhood.”