Obasanjo, Ajimobi Inaugurate Projects At IITA
Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi over the weekend inaugurated some projects at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The projects include a 10.5km ring road named after the state governor and an agricultural transformation building dedicated to research and delivery of innovations to farmers across Nigeria.
Governor Ajimobi during the inauguration said the support given to IITA was in realisation of the importance of agriculture to Oyo State, and the contribution of IITA to agricultural development in the state.
“Today Oyo State is the best place to invest and promote agriculture because we have IITA located in the state,” he said.
Obasanjo, at the event, commended Governor Ajimobi for supporting IITA and called for the extension of innovations generated from research stations to farmers.
Also the goodwill ambassador of IITA, the former president said, recommendations in the Policy Framework need to be implemented by the incoming administration.
“Our problem is not policy formulation but implementation,” he said.
He added that there was a gap between research institutions and the ordinary smallholder farmers, “and we need to close that gap to bring about agricultural transformation.”
The construction of the agricultural transformation building commenced in 2017 with a foundation laying ceremony officiated by former Nigerian heads of government, General Yakubu Gowon, and Chief Obasanjo; and the African Development Bank President, Akin Adesina as part of projects initiated to mark the 50th anniversary of IITA.
The building, which was funded by the African Development Bank through a Nigerian project— Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP)— comprises 22 offices, 8 large laboratory spaces, a conference room, and a utility facility.
The Director-General of IITA, Nteranya Sanginga, said the rejuvenation of IITA facility in Nigeria was crucial for the institute’s sustained efforts to transform agriculture on the continent.
“We are excited to see a state in Nigeria showing the example by supporting infrastructure in an international agricultural research center. This is not common, and we commend the government and people of Oyo State,” he said.
Dr Sanginga also commended the government of Nigeria and the AfDB for their support towards the construction of the building, adding that it would accelerate the pace of research and accommodate the best/critical human and material resource needed to bring transformation to the agricultural sector.
See more photos of the inauguration below…