Sasakawa Africa Association signs MoU with IITA to strengthen already existing partnership
The Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) team met with the IITA Board of Trustees (BoT) at IITA Ibadan campus on 20 November. The meeting was for the purpose of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their already existing partnership and discuss more partnership opportunities.
SAA was founded in Geneva in 1986 by Ryoichi Sasakawa with the vision to create a sub-Saharan Africa free of hunger and poverty, sustainably producing nutritious food in an eco-friendly, market oriented and socially viable system. The association seeks to achieve this by working in partnership with public and private stakeholders, particularly extension advisory services, to influence the inclusive transformation of African agriculture to sustainably increase productivity and income in response to market demand.
Welcoming the SAA team, Amos NamangaNgongi, IITA Board Chair said, “it is good to have all of you here because of the serious business we have to do in Africa. We are working towards narrowing the gap between potential and actual and it is good that SAA is trying to increase productivity at the rural level.” In agreement, Ruth Oniang’o, Chair of SSA Board said, “Africa is lagging behind in productivity and food security.”
Mel Oluoch, SAA Regional Director highlighted why both organizations have a good ground for partnership. “SAA focuses on agriculture technology transfer, taking developed technologies to the scale at the grassroot farmer’s level, while IITA generates technologies,” he said. Although, the institutes are already working together on projects like Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA) and Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), SAA is looking to strengthening the relationship with IITA through getting involved in more projects.
One major area of focus for SAA in partnering with IITA is youth empowerment. This is because both organizations are working to reduce migration of youths to the cities by creating jobs for them at the rural level. Through this partnership, SAA hopes to have proven technologies from IITA, which can be given to youths at the rural level and will be a game changer in creating job opportunities for them.
After discussions and signing of the MoU, Kenton Dashiell, IITA DDG Partnerships for Delivery, appreciated the SAA team for visiting and said, “even though we have good partnership right now, there are many opportunities to strengthen them.”