Obasanjo heads to Tanzania for inauguration of IITA building
Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is among important personalities invited to the inauguration of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s (IITA) Science Building in Tanzania.
According to a press release from the institute’s headquarters in Ibadan on Thursday, the President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, will also be among the special guests.
The inauguration of the building, on May 13, will also attract members of the diplomatic corps, development partners and farmers, the release, signed by the Communications Officer of the institute, Godwin Atser, announced.
Located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in East Africa, the IITA science building will bring scientific solutions to agricultural problems closer to the people of that region.
This is with the ultimate aim of improving agricultural productivity, sustainable development and wealth creation.
Meanwhile, President Shein, while receiving a delegation from IITA, led by the Director General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, commended the institute for investing in the science building to boost agriculture and research capacity.
According to the release, Shein also lauded IITA for its work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in boosting the production of root and tuber crops, especially cassava and yam.
The president further appealed for more support in cassava value addition.
Shein accepted the invitation for the inauguration which was signed by former President Obasanjo (who is also IITA Goodwill Ambassador), and noted that agricultural research was critical to Africa’s transformation.
According to him, the value chain approach to agricultural research that seeks to diversify products from commodities can help Africa to maximise the gains from productivity increases.
“In Zanzibar, we are good eaters of cassava since time immemorial. In the morning, we boil fresh cassava for breakfast and cook it with coconut for lunch.
“We also dry it for two to three days into what we call ‘makopa’ which we make for dinner.
“However, we need to help our farmers to diversify its uses beyond boiling and making makopa by adding value. This way, we will also diversify their income,” he said.
Earlier, Sanginga had assured President Shein that IITA would support the Government of Zanzibar in its effort to promote value addition to its commodities.
According to him, the state-of-the-art science building will be opened to researchers from Eastern Africa and students to carry out research on various problems facing small-holder farmers.