Assistant Director, President’s Office, praises IITA research in Tanzania
The Assistant Director for Technical Cooperation at the President’s Office, Public Service Management (POPSM), Mr Msafiri Marwa, has commended IITA Tanzania for its research efforts in transforming agriculture in Tanzania. Msafiri said this when he led a POPSM delegation to IITA-Eastern Africa hub offices in July in Mikocheni, Dar es salaam.
The objective of the visit was to familiarize themselves with IITA activities, including capacity building and technology transfer efforts for local experts and researchers, given that POPSM has been issuing work permits to IITA over the years.
The team was welcomed by the Hub Director, Leena Tripathi; the hub Head of Finance and Administration, Eveline Odiambo; and other senior staff. The visiting team was briefed on IITA activities in Tanzania and held meetings with staff to learn about their experiences working at the Institute. The visitors also met with the administration team to discuss work permit processes.
The visitors also toured IITA research facilities in Dar es Salaam starting with the laboratories. Frederick Baijukya, the Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) Country Coordinator, and his team demonstrated the AKILIMO app, a smartphone mobile application that provides site-specific recommendations for cassava growing. Baijukya also explained about the Afya soil test Kits, a simplified, affordable, and portable soil test as an alternative to costly laboratories that can analyze important nutrients like soil pH, total nitrogen (N), Organic carbon (OC), and Phosphorus (P).
At the microbiology laboratory, IITA Research Technician Massoud Amour, explained how to control whitefly, a vector for cassava viruses, using biopesticides and essential oils as part of bio-based strategies for vector control.
They also toured the IITA Youth Center at Kwembe, where they saw the Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs Program activities, including cassava processing area, fish and rabbit farming, poultry farming, and animal feed production.
Msafiri said he was impressed with the range of activities that IITA was involved in. He pointed out he was especially impressed by IITA’s efforts to build young people’s capacity to engage in science and agribusiness.
“You are doing excellent work that is very important to farmers; I especially like that you are empowering youth to engage in agribusiness. This change of mindsets will lift our youth out of unemployment and poverty,” said Marwa.
The Office of the President, Public Service Management Office, is a vital department for IITA’s work. It coordinates the registration of international organizations in Tanzania and issues work permits to international staff and exemptions. IITA is currently working on renewing its MoU with the government facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture.