DG Sanginga: I didn’t want to be a farmer…

In the July edition of the monthly E-Magazine of the World Farmers’ Organization F@rmletter, DG Nteranya Sanginga revealed that crude agricultural practices made the sector unattractive to him as a young boy in the DR Congo.

Picture of DG Sanginga
DG Sanginga

“As a farm boy growing up in the DR Congo, I have experienced and seen how farming can be a backbreaking and labor-intensive chore for my family and the millions of African smallholder farmers. That’s why I chose not to be a farmer,” DG Sanginga recounted.

But thanks to modernization, DG Sanginga says he is fulfilled today working in the sector, assisting young men and women to create profitable business ventures from agriculture and helping to better the lives of millions of smallholder farmers around the world dependent on the sector to eke out a living.

He also said the rich climatic and arable land endowments of sub-Saharan Africa are resources that could be channeled to make agriculture more innovative, exciting, and profitable.

DG Sanginga emphasized the need for the youth to dominate the agricultural value chains, noting that for a sector that feeds the world and ensures food and nutrition security, the involvement of vibrant young men and women should be unquestioned.

He cited the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) as ambassadors of the sort of change that modern-day agricultural practices require and said that the IYA model is a testament that when empowered, young people can turn a seemingly unattractive venture into a goldmine.

DG Sanginga enjoined relevant stakeholders, policymakers, and communities to rise up to the challenge and to support, promote, and replicate the model.

He also prescribed that stakeholders should provide institutional support, training, access to finance, land, favorable policies, programs and infrastructures that would enable the youth to see farming as a business and also motivate them to take up agriculture on a commercial scale.

He concluded by advising that “there should be a determined effort to ensure that the younger generations tap into the potentials of agriculture. That is the only way we can save the agriculture sector, ensure food security, and increase agricultural productivity when our ageing farmers are gone.” Read the full feature here.

 

DG Sanginga lauds IITA-Kano staff during visit

DG Nteranya Sanginga paid a courtesy visit to IITA Kano station on 27 July to monitor ongoing projects and research activities. During his welcome meeting, the DG congratulated staff members for their hard work and efforts in making IITA what it is today. He stressed that his priority is staff wellbeing but emphasized that duties should be handled diligently. He spoke about his game-changing strategies and his four major initiatives, which are the Business Incubation Platform, working with the African Development Bank, the IITA Youth Agripreneurs, and R4D. He also encouraged IITA Kano to have an identity. In his words he said “the world should know what Kano station stands for”.

Picture of DG Nteranya Sanginga (left) is shown the recent research developments within IITA-Kano campus
DG Nteranya Sanginga (left) is shown the recent research developments within IITA-Kano campus.

The DG was taken around the station to see improvements, developments, and some of the research carried out within the campus. He was taken to the new building and offices, then to an ongoing research on the effect of shade on cowpea and backcrosses of some selected varieties of cowpea.

DG Sanginga was also accompanied to Minjibir Local Government Area of the state to see some more research being undertaken by scientists. He commended every effort towards research which is targeted for development and proffered advice on some of the plots. On the Agripreneurs tomato fields, he encouraged the use of a greenhouse to check and regulate disease/pest infestations while he requested a business plan for the Livestock farm.

Sanginga to stay on as DG until 2021, IITA BoT confirms

Picture of DG Sanginga.
DG Sanginga.

Through an email circulated to all IITA staff by Bruce Coulman, Chair of the IITA Board of Trustees (BoT), on 28 July, the IITA BoT has officially confirmed the acceptance of Nteranya Sanginga of its offer for an additional five years at the helm of the Institute.

In his communication, the BoT Chair said, “on behalf of the Board of Trustees of IITA, I am pleased to announce that Nteranya Sanginga has accepted our offer of an additional five-year term as Director General, beginning 1 November 2016.”

“IITA has undergone a period of unprecedented growth in its science capacity under Sanginga’s first five years of leadership. The Board is looking forward to working with the DG on the many new initiatives under way that will strengthen IITA’s position as the leading agricultural research institute to address the problems of hunger and poverty in Africa.”

The whole IITA community joins the BoT in wishing DG Sanginga another fruitful term as head of IITA.