IITA Nematology/Striga laboratory undergoes facelift in Ibadan campus
On 4 October, IITA West Africa Hub Director, Robert Asiedu, inaugurated the newly refurbished Nematology and Striga laboratory at the Ibadan campus of the Institute. Project leaders and a GRC representative were among those present at the ceremony.
In his remarks, Asiedu congratulated the staff and commended them for their persistence and hard work in the pursuit of the sustenance of the laboratory in a dwindling fund climate.
Also present at the launch, Project Leader of the Yam Improvement for Incomes and Food Security in West Africa Phase II (YIIFSWA-II), Norbert Maroya, encouraged the staff working at the laboratory to continue with the standard they have shown across the years.
Plant Pathologist Yao Kolombia summarized the feeling of the nematology laboratory team, by stating, “I am very happy today, to see that West Africa Hub has not forgotten the Nematology laboratory. The reason is that nematology is also very important for agricultural development as it affects many crops. I will like to commend the Hub Director for his constant support.”
The Nematology and Striga laboratory began operations in 1991. Over the years, funding challenges incapacitated laboratory maintenance, even though the laboratory is instrumental in the agronomic research through the various services it provides.
In 2015, the West Africa Hub replaced the dated soil sterilization machine used in the laboratory with a new steam sterilizer machine to control disease pathogens, nematodes, insects, and weeds. With this state-of-the-art equipment, the laboratory now provides good quality sterilized soil for use in plant propagation units, for fields, and even for household gardens. Apart from good quality sterilized soil, the laboratory also provides diagnostic services and management advice for nematode problems, through the nematode field review and identification.
With the purchase of the soil sterilization machine, the laboratory commenced the gradual process of cost recovery of services provided by the laboratory.
With the view of expanding the service provision of the laboratory, the WA Hub administrative office procured and installed a new OMAX Digital Trinocular compound LED Microscope in the laboratory. This microscope allows for better imagery of nematodes as well as capturing the pictures of the nematode for precise identification.
Laboratory Manager Wumi Adewuyi took the attendees on a tour of the laboratory, demonstrating the transformation through a slideshow highlighting the status of the laboratory before and after the facelift.
The West Africa Hub Director closed by saying that the services provided by the laboratory should be made known to all within the IITA campus as nematode infestation affects not only research crops.