A high-powered delegation of scientists and technicians, led by the Director-General of the Angolan Institute of Agrarian Development, have concluded a visit to the headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, South West of Nigeria. The visit comprises capacity-sharing tours to IITA’s centre of excellence, including Molecular Biology Laboratories, Gene bank, Bioscience Laboratory, cassava processing unit, Semi Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH) Unit, Youth in Agribusiness and the Business Incubation Platform (BIP), among others.
The visit, which equally incorporates training of trainers (ToT) session on rapid cassava propagation system using SAH technology, is facilitated by the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), under the framework of the Cabinda Province Agricultural Value Chains Development Project (CPAVCDP). The Angolan delegation, upon arrival, held insightful meetings with the IITA Management Team led by Ms. Hilde Koper, Prof. Michel Abberton and Dr. Chrys Akem, who welcomed the team and discussed possibilities around strengthening the ties, between the government of Angolan and IITA.
The Head of TAAT Clearinghouse, Dr. Solomon Gizaw, said that the visit portrayed the growing commitment of high-level decision makers across Africa to transform the agriculture sector through large-scale deployment of science-based, proven agricultural technologies to change the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of small-scale African farmers. It would be recalled that TAAT, in January 2023, signed an agreement worth US$1.4 million, with the government of Angola to deploy capacity-building initiatives capable of reaching at least 10,200 value chain beneficiaries in the Cabinda Province of Angola by enhancing beneficiaries’ knowledge of crop, aquaculture and livestock management to uptake the use of improved technologies.
Within the framework of the agreement, TAAT is already deploying technologies for Early Generation Seed (EGS) multiplication, Tissue Culture and Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH), best use of fertilizers and pesticides, the massification of fish production with the introduction of new fingerlings breeds (tilapia and catfish), small ruminants and poultry; training in good agricultural practices; promotion of mechanisation along the value chains, and post-harvest and value addition. However, as part of the ToT, the delegation from Angola visited Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Ltd (OFN) to observe the practical applicability of the SAH technology on the field.
At the farm, the delegation visited the established screen houses, tissue culture laboratory, soil and feed analysis laboratory. They equally visited the fields where the plantlets from SAH are demonstrated, with the visitors planting some plantlets and visiting a cassava processing plant capable of producing 300 tonnes of cassava, per day. The Angolan delegation expressed their appreciation to IITA and to the TAAT programme for facilitating what the Angolan team leader described as an “eye-opener and the beginning of a strategic partnership with IITA and TAAT for agricultural transformation in Angola”.