IITA’s 50th anniversary features at 14th Malawi National Agriculture Fair
Partners, donors, NGOs, and farmers in Malawi joyfully took part in IITA’s 50th anniversary celebration during the 14th Malawi National Agriculture fair held on 16 ̶18 August in Blantyre.
The agriculture fair with the theme “Unleashing full agriculture potential: The role of markets,” attracted over 25,000 participants that included the President of the Republic of Malawi, Members of Parliament, traditional authorities, the private sector, government agencies, donors, NGOs, research institutions, national agricultural research systems, the diplomatic community, farmers’ associations, various developmental projects, seed companies, and members of the press, who gathered at the 4-day exhibition to network and learn about the latest agricultural research products, technological and institutional innovations, and industrial applications.
The fair was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof Peter Mutharika. In his address, he remarked that the essence of the fair was to “boost local and international markets for agricultural produce and further encourage farmers and all other stakeholders to continue to work hard and develop technologies that will further improve the socioeconomic status of the country.“
Commenting on markets, President Mutharika said that despite the country being an agro–based economy, Malawian famers have not fully realized the benefits of their work due to the challenges of marketing of agricultural produce in the country.
IITA showcased a variety of technologies and products from soybean, cassava, and cowpea, and Aflasafe. Also on display were posters designed to showcase the past and present of IITA and also some of its key achievements in Malawi over the past 30 years. Some of the products displayed included cassava starch, fermented cassava flour (kondoole), high quality cassava flour (HQCF), Aflasafe, soybean food products/snacks, and various materials and posters showcasing some of IITA’s work and achievements in Malawi and across Africa.
Lloyd Phiphira, the National Coordinator for the N2Africa Project, interacted with hundreds of participants who visited the pavilion to inquire about IITA technologies. Participants were also exposed to various processed products from soybean and cassava. Phiphira also provided expert advice to those who showed a keen interest in trying some of the technologies on display.
Farmers expressed delight in seeing the IITA technologies on display and also to learn about the major achievements of the Institute in Malawi.