About 11 farmers and representatives of farmers’ cooperatives from Lagos and Ogun States, Nigeria, working with the Human and Environmental Development Agenda Resource Centre (HEDA), visited IITA Ibadan last week and interacted with researchers and discussed potential areas of collaboration.
The farmers’ visit was arranged by HEDA, a nongovernmental organization based in Lagos that advances human rights and environmental protection in public policy and programs. Through partnerships, HEDA works with knowledge and information as tools for ensuring accountable governance, addressing poverty, and empowering local communities.
A memorandum of understanding was signed on 7 August between IITA, represented by Kenton Dashiell, DDG for Partnerships and Capacity Development, and Sulaimon Arigbabu, Executive Secretary of HEDA Resource Centre. The aim is to foster cooperation for developing and implementing opportunities for collaboration and partnership to help reduce poverty, empower local communities, foster farmers’ rights, provide climate information services, engage the youth in agriculture, and promote other agriculture-related areas.
HEDA aims at helping to bridge the communication gap between small and medium-scale farmers and IITA to increase public awareness programs and partnership by informing the public and farmers through various media of opportunities in agriculture. It intends to create a clear information sharing system on knowledge in agriculture, as well as to increase participation by the youth through their advocacy programs and initiatives, said Pelumi Okuyemi, HEDA Senior Programmes Officer.
Some of the organizations represented by the farmers included the All-Farmers Association of Nigeria, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, and the maize and tuber crops associations. Farmers asked a lot of questions about challenges in the production of banana/plantain, rice, and cassava during the interactive discussion. Researchers were on hand to answer their questions. Staff present from IITA were Alfred Dixon, Partnerships Coordination Office and Cassava Weeds Management Project; Hilde Koper, Project Administration Office; Katherine Lopez, Communication Office; and Delphine Amah, Banana Breeding Unit as well as Venuprasad Ramaiah from AfricaRice. A tour of IITA’s facilities and farms was also conducted.