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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

IITA initiatives contribute to Nigeria food security

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has declared that it contributed massively to the country’s efforts towards food security, employment generation, diversification of the country’s economy with value chain agriculture, and better nutrition.
IITA Communication Officer for West and Central Africa, Mr Godwin Atser made this assertion while speaking to newsmen and pointed out that IITA Director-General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, has the zeal to empower the youth, hence he started a pilot project last year on how the institute can use agriculture as a tool to engage the youth corps members, empower them through training by inspiration by going into the field, writing proposal and making money from agriculture.
NaijaAgroNet gathered from Atser that about 25 graduates have keyed into the youth project and had cultivated 50 hectares of cassava using the project to meet the stem demands of farmers.  
“IITA has been very successful. If not for IITA, there would not have been cassava in Nigeria.  In the 1970s, there was a disease that was wiping out cassava in Africa.  IITA and its partners released wasps which killed the cassava bug that was killing cassava.
Atser informed NaijaAgroNet that when the presidential cassava initiative was initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, IITA propelled the efforts and production rose by 10 million metric tonnes and Nigeria became the largest world producer of cassava.
He disclosed that IITA’s door is open for youths who are interested in agriculture  to write to the institute on-line or on the website and advocated for the training of youth in the yam value chain, while government and other stakeholders  create more awareness about cassava flour and bread.
*With Additional report from Tribune

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