Prof Patrick Mzee Somora, the Honorable Minister of Planning and Budget of the South Kivu Province, has described IITA as a priority agricultural development actor in the region. He said this during a study visit on 6 August to IITA-Kalambo, leading a team of Ministers, Cabinet Directors, and Heads of Divisions from five provinces (Bandundu, Katanga, Kasaï Oriental, and North Kivu) of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Prof Somora said the visit aims to create awareness among other provincial ministers of DR Congo about IITA facilities and technologies and agricultural innovations brought into the country by IITA.
These innovations include state-of-the-art laboratories, e-library, greenhouse, and mechanized agro-processing facilities with a product development and exhibition building run by the Youth Agripreneurs. He added that the facilities were for the development not only of South Kivu province but the whole country.
Dr Chris Okafor, Officer-in-Charge, IITA-Kalambo, received the visitors and said, “IITA-Kalambo was started
in 2004 as a small ‘Science Building for Peace’ with support from the Governor of South Kivu, His Excellency Marcelin Chishambo Ruhoya. Today, the story of the Station is a different one. It is fast becoming a center for all the CGIAR institutions operating in the region.”
He took the visitors to a tour of the facilities at the Station as well as interact with the Youth Agripreneurs who are carving out a niche for themselves in agribusiness.
The visitors applauded IITA for its new technologies and, more importantly, for reaching out to government agencies, development partners, and farmers with the new technologies to fight poverty and hunger