IITA and the Chadian Government earmark opportunities to strengthen collaboration
An official delegation from IITA led by the Deputy Regional Director of IITA Central Africa Hub, Zoumana Bamba, was in Ndjamena on the invitation of the Chadian Minister of Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment, Mrs Lydie Beassemda, from 8 to 11 July. The visit came at a time when the Government is resolutely engaged in a process of revitalizing its agriculture to increase its contribution to national GDP, increase food security, and reduce youth unemployment.
During their stay, they held discussions with national partners and identified areas that could serve as potential entry points for IITA in Chad. These were seed systems, capacity building, youth entrepreneurship through the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), aflatoxin contamination, mechanization and processing of agricultural products, integrated soil fertility management, and the development of the livestock sector (forage crops).
To enhance collaboration between IITA and the Chadian partners, some short- and medium-term plans of action were put in place. As part of this, both parties identified the need to establish a collaboration agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and the Institute of Agricultural Research and Development (ITRAD) of the Republic of Chad. The medium-term actions identified include the training of researchers (MSc, PhD) as well as in-house training of researchers in priority areas such as varietal selection, diagnosis of diseases, and monitoring the fall armyworm.
Considering the wide field experience of IITA, the Chadian partners encouraged its representatives to apply for participation in some upcoming projects. These projects include the Swiss Cooperation international call on resilient agriculture in Chad, the World Bank`s plan to launch E-extension and E-voucher in Chad, as well as the African Development Bank (AfDB) revised strategy in Chad by the end of 2019.
Other activities carried out during the mission included a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment, exchanges with the technical and financial partners (FAO, GIZ, Swiss Cooperation, AfDB, World Bank), and a general meeting.
The visit ended with the Chadian Minister of Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment expressing her readiness to see IITA go operational in Chad with the immediate measure being its invitation to the validation meeting scheduled for 30 July.