A high-powered delegation of scientists and technicians led by the Director General of the Angolan Institute of Agrarian Development is currently in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria, where they are visiting the headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The visit, which 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), began on the 11th of July 2023 with the arrival of the team from Angola and will end on the 24th of July 2023
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).
It would be recalled that TAAT, in January 2023, signed an agreement worth $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 fertilisers 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.
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 the Institute.
As part of the ongoing ToT, the delegation from Angola visited Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Ltd (OFN) to observe the practical applicability of the SAH technology in the field. While at the farm, the delegation visited the established screen houses, tissue culture laboratory, and soil and feed analysis laboratory. The delegation 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 tons of cassava per day.
As the visit progresses, the Angolan delegation has 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.”
In a swift response, Dr Solomon Gizaw, the head of TAAT Clearinghouse, affirmed that “the visit portrays the growing commitment of high-level decision-makers across Africa to transform the agricultural sector through large-scale deployment of science-based, proven agricultural technologies to change the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of small-scale African farmers.”