IARSAF holds 22nd Annual Symposium
The 22nd Annual Symposium of the IITA International Association of Research Scholars and Fellows (IARSAF) was held on 20-24 May in Ibadan. The annual symposium is a gathering of research fellows and early career researchers and provides an opportunity to showcase their research activities through posters and oral presentations.
Following the theme of the symposium: “Innovative Agricultural Research for Food Security and Climate Change Mitigation in sub-Saharan Africa,” keynote speakers were selected to address the impact of climate change on food security and hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change is already affecting the continent, and predictions show that some of the worst impacts will be on agricultural production. Therefore, scientists in Africa and their partners will need to develop drought- and heat-resistant crops, improved livestock breeds, and new techniques of soil and water management.
Policymakers like the Governor-elect of Oyo State, Engr Seyi Makinde, were invited to discuss what is happening and the efforts being put in place to reduce the impact of climate change. This is expected to guide the incoming administration in the formulation of agricultural policies for the state, viz-a-viz what has been achieved, and a milestone of what is expected.
In his welcome address, IARSAF President Sanni Afolabi said, “IARSAF is an association of IITA graduate research fellows with the main aim of ensuring in-depth training of early researchers.” Research fellows are expected to scale up their research to reduce the impact of climate change and ensure food security. In line with this, Janice Olawoye, Professor of Rural Sociology and IITA Consultant, working to improve the Institute’s research said, “It is not research for publication alone but research to solve problems.”
May-Guri Saethre, Deputy Director General, Research for Development, stressed the impact of young scientists produced by IITA and said, “Hopes are high that discussions like this will solve issues surrounding climate change and food security.” Similarly, Taofeek Adegboyega, emeritus IARSAF President while representing Dr Akin Fagbemi, founder of Akin Fagbemi Foundation, said, “We are all aware that agricultural innovation can transform livelihoods and lift rural people out of poverty as exemplified by numerous research outputs by IITA and partners.”
One of the keynote speakers, Ghislain Tepa-Yotto, Coordinator of the Biorisk Management Facility (BIMAF), did a review of BIMAF’s activities in the last few years, the effect of climate change with regard to pests and diseases, and the importance of world health intelligence to climate-smart agriculture through BIMAF.
IITA Director General Dr Nteranya Sanginga encouraged research fellows to publish good articles and actively participate in all IITA programs. He also pointed their attention to bringing up creative and innovative ideas for IITA management to implement. Similarly, Carol Ibe, Founder of JR Biotek, said in her goodwill message, “I believe in hard work; therefore, I advise that any area of research one is into, it is necessary to make the most out of it.”