IITA-CGIAR and Government Collaboration: Strengthening Agriculture Transformation in Nigeria

IITA-CGIAR and Government Collaboration (In photo Dr Ehui with the Vice President of Nigeria Kashim Shettima)
Dr Ehui with the Vice President of Nigeria Kashim Shettima)

Strengthening Agriculture Transformation in Nigeria: IITA-CGIAR and Government Collaboration

In a pivotal step towards enhancing Nigeria’s agricultural landscape, Dr Simeon Ehui, the Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and CGIAR Continental Director for Africa embarked on a significant three-day visit to Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This high-profile visit, accompanied by IITA Board Chair Professor Roel Merckx and Deputy Director General Partnerships for Delivery (DDG-P4D) Dr Kenton Dashiell, was strategically designed to foster discussions with key government officials on policies and engagement to drive agricultural transformation in the region. The collaboration between IITA-CGIAR and the Nigerian government seeks to leverage scientific research and innovation to propel food security and sustainable agricultural practices.

The Vision for Agricultural Transformation

Dr Simeon Ehui’s visit to Nigeria was a significant opportunity to outline his vision for IITA, CGIAR, and Africa’s food systems. Central to this vision is the recognition of research and science as catalysts for achieving sustainable and resilient agriculture. The collaboration aims to harness the potential of Nigeria’s agricultural sector to not only meet domestic food demands but also become a driving force in enhancing food systems across the African continent.

Dr Ehui, Prof Merckx, Dr Dashiell in a meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima
Dr Ehui, Prof Merckx, and Dr Dashiell in a meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima

Government Commitment to Food Security

During his visit, Dr Ehui engaged with Nigerian Vice President Kashim Shettima, expressing gratitude for the government’s longstanding support towards IITA’s initiatives. Dr Ehui underscored IITA’s dedication to eradicating hunger and emphasized Nigeria’s pivotal role in strengthening food systems across Africa. In response, Vice President Shettima affirmed the government’s commitment to addressing food insecurity and improving the agricultural sector. This endorsement signifies the alignment of government objectives with IITA-CGIAR’s transformative agenda.

Strengthening International Partnerships

Dr. Ehui’s engagements extended beyond the Vice President, encompassing meetings with Permanent Secretaries and Acting Ministers from key ministries. Noteworthy discussions were held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD). These interactions highlighted IITA-CGIAR’s commitment to collaboration with national and regional systems to drive impactful research, agricultural development, and food security.

IITA’s Role in Transforming Agriculture

The IITA-CGIAR collaboration seeks to transcend conventional boundaries and reshape agriculture through cutting-edge research and technology. Dr Ehui’s discussions emphasized the potential of Africa, particularly Nigeria, to reduce dependency on imports and address food security challenges from within the continent. IITA’s strategic positioning to provide innovative technologies serves as a cornerstone in achieving sustainable and self-reliant food systems.

Empowering Local and Regional Systems

A crucial aspect of IITA-CGIAR’s transformative agenda is the empowerment of local and regional systems. Dr Ehui’s visit highlighted the Institute’s commitment to working closely with government bodies to foster research-driven agricultural development. By enhancing collaboration and knowledge-sharing, IITA-CGIAR aims to amplify its impact on farmers’ livelihoods and food security.

Table: IITA-CGIAR’s Collaborative Efforts
Objective Key Stakeholders
Enhancing agricultural research IITA, CGIAR, Nigerian government
Promoting sustainable food systems Research institutions, farmers
Strengthening local and regional partnerships Government ministries, NGOs
Advancing technology-driven solutions Agricultural scientists, innovators
Empowering farmers through knowledge Extension services, rural communities
Dr Ehui with Prof Merckx, Ambassador Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a delegate of the Ministry
Dr Ehui with Prof Merckx, Ambassador Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a delegate of the Ministry

Collaborative Efforts for Self-Sufficiency

The convergence of IITA-CGIAR’s expertise and the Nigerian government’s commitment lays the foundation for achieving agricultural self-sufficiency. By fostering innovation, knowledge transfer, and resource allocation, the collaboration aims to bolster local production, reduce import dependency, and enhance food security. This proactive approach aligns with global sustainability goals and positions Nigeria as a regional leader in agricultural transformation.

IITA Abuja’s Impressive Growth Trajectory

Dr Ehui’s visit to the IITA Abuja Station marked a significant moment for the local team. The Director General’s encouragement and commendation reinforced the importance of upholding IITA’s values and ethics. Dr Beatrice Aighewi, the Head of IITA Abuja, expressed optimism regarding IITA’s growth under Dr Ehui’s leadership. The Abuja Station’s pivotal role in driving agricultural innovation is poised to contribute significantly to Nigeria’s food security goals.

The collaborative efforts between IITA-CGIAR and the Nigerian government hold immense promise for transforming the nation’s agricultural sector. Dr Simeon Ehui’s visit underscored the commitment of both parties to leveraging research and science for sustainable food systems. The alignment of objectives, dedication to innovation, and focus on empowering local communities position Nigeria on a trajectory towards self-sufficiency and regional leadership in agricultural development. As IITA-CGIAR and the Nigerian government continue to strengthen their partnership, the future of agriculture in Nigeria looks promising, with potential positive ripple effects across the African continent and beyond.


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