Madame Olive Lembe Kabila, the First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Congo, paid a visit to the IITA-Kalambo Station on 7 July. She was accompanied by her children,
the South Kivu Governor, and top government officials.
Dr. Chris Okafor, IITA-Kalambo Officer in Charge, and Dr. Marie Yomeni, SARD-SC Cassava Commodity Specialist, received the visitors and took them on a tour of the station. This included the fabrication unit, processing units for cassava and soybean, the product exhibition center, greenhouse, e-library, and laboratories.
The First Lady showed her keen interest in the facilities which were established because of the pressing need for improved agroprocessing technologies and agroprocessed foods in DRC. During the tour, she was briefed about the cost of the agroprocessing equipment, how cassava and soybean processing technologies would be extended to farmers and agroprocessors, the use of crop diversification to minimize farmers’ risks, soil and plant analyses, and fertilizer application.
The First Lady inquired about how the dissemination of improved technologies was taking care of women’s needs. She was assured that IITA had the capacity and technologies to address the issues she raised and was willing to support and collaborate with her initiatives, especially in North Kivu and Katanga provinces.
In her parting words, she wrote in the visitors’ book ‘‘Je suis impressionnée par la qualité de cet Institut avec tout son personnel. Ceci dit là où sont les humains, il y aura toujours évolution de la science………… Merci pour cet accueil aussi chaleureux.” ‘‘I am impressed by the quality of this Institution and its staff…meaning that where human beings are, evolution of science always occurs. Thank you for your warm welcome.”