ACDI/VOCA Country Representative for Nigeria visits IITA
Kula, who is also a Senior Agribusiness Adviser to this Agricultural Development NGO, visited the Institute to get a better understanding of IITA activities and explore the possibility of partnering with the Institute on a new United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project. USAID will be issuing a new procurement project called Nigeria Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services.
“We will be building on this project and we believe that with the right partnerships including partnering with IITA and perhaps AfricaRice or World Fish, we will be able to put together a winning proposal,” said Kula.
He also noted that Nigeria is one of the countries for USAID’s “Feed the Future” (FTF) strategy, emphasising economic growth, nutrition, and resilience. The focus crops are maize, rice, soybean, and cowpea, alongside aquaculture, all found in IITA.
The FTF strategy targets several Local Government Areas (LGAs) within states. However, taking the value chain approach will help farmers or aquaculture producers in those LGAs to become more productive. “USAID has seen lots of entrepreneurial initiatives in Nigeria and through this project plans to help initiatives with the ability to scale, to reach scale,” continued Kula.
In his welcome remarks, IITA Director of Research for Development, West Africa, Robert Asiedu, spoke of IITA’s willingness to collaborate with both the private sector and government entities. “We have intensified our partnership with the private sector as it is a good avenue to ensure that the Institute’s technologies get to farmers,” he said.
Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery (DDG-P4D), Kenton Dashiell also spoke of IITA’s readiness to explore partnership opportunities. He said, “We have heard and seen some of your work and we would love to partner with you, believing that we would have a very strong partnership.”
Kula also met and discussed with other staff in charge of some projects such as Bernadette Fregene for aquaculture; Godwin Atser for extension services; David Ojo for soybean; Tunde Amole for cassava peel; Francis Nwilene for rice; and Dashiell representing Christian Fatokun and Abebe Menkir/Badu-Aprkau for cowpea and maize, respectively. Afterwards, he was taken on a tour of the IITA campus including stops at the facilities for Aflasafe, Nodumax, and Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH) for yam.