Thirty-three final year students from the University Kongo in Mbanza-Ngungu, DRC, visited the research station of the National Institute of Agricultural Research and Studies (Institut National pour l’Etude et la Recherche Agronomiques, INERA) where IITA-DRC conducts its research activities. The visit focused on the cassava value chain and activities on food crops, such as banana and plantain, grain legumes, and maize.
Since IITA introduced modern cassava processing equipment, the diversification of the use of the crop has increased. The staple is being enjoyed in various forms in DRC and new and improved varieties are available in the market.
On arrival, the group was welcomed by Dr Nzola Mahungu, IITA-DRC Country Representative and Coordinator of the Cassava R4D Project, and the
acting director of the INERA station, and Ir Vangu Germaine, who explained to
the visitors how research is carried
The visit provided a platform for the students to link theory to practice. It provided answers to questions on how cassava varieties are developed, putting together productivity and end user’s needs, how diseases and pests are tackled, how agronomic practices including soil management and cropping systems are tested, and how processed products are packaged.
The students were also taken on a tour of the facilities in the research fields, laboratory, and processing unit.