Professor Damian Chikwendu, WAAPP-Nigeria National Coordinator, has commended IITA for prominently featuring the dynamic Agricultural Innovation Platform (AIP), also known as the Cassava Platform, in channelling technologies to farmers and investors. He described the initiative as “more effective than other conventional systems.”
Prof Chikwendu also observed that, to a very large extent, the AIP which is based in Umuahia, Abia State, had been performing very well in the cassava value chain and had now been extended to eight other States in Nigeria. “The World Bank is very impressed by this extension outfit and I urge IITA to request additional funds as may be needed to foster an all-encompassing development for farmers.”
WAAPP-Nigeria has been engaging IITA since 2012 as a major partner in the implementation of regional projects on cassava, yam, and maize. When Dr Gbassey Tarawali, IITA’s Representative in Abuja, and Dr Beatrice Aighewi, IITA Yam Seed Systems Specialist, made a recent visit to the WAAPP Office in Abuja, Prof Chikwendu showed interest in continuing the ongoing projects and also in exploring new areas. To facilitate this, an interactive session between both organizations was held on 2 March where IITA scientists shared new ideas and made presentations on the final reports for the ongoing projects and proposals for a second phase.
New areas to be explored in the proposed second phase include an oil initiative, the involvement of the youth in agribusiness, and the use of aflasafe to combat aflatoxin contamination on maize fields. As a first step, Dr Kenton Dashiell, DDG-Partnerships and Capacity Development, has urged IITA scientists to prepare at least six proposals to this effect. He also enjoined the scientists to work with Dr Robert Asiedu, Director R4D, and Kristina Roing de Nowina, Proposal Development Coordinator, in carrying out this assignment.