The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were honored by the Ogun State Government for their work on agricultural transformation in the state and Africa.
The state Governor, Senator Ibukunle Amosun presented plaques of honor to the three institutions during a courtesy visit to his office.The visit came at a time when AATF organized a stakeholders’ meeting on cassava mechanization in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The governor who sent a strong delegation to the meeting also invited the three organizations to his office for further discussion on possible collaboration in agriculture and other developmental areas.
Amosun said the current realities (fall in oil prices and rising unemployment) facing Nigeria underpinned the need for the diversification of the Nigerian economy, emphasizing that agriculture was the way to go.
He expressed readiness to further collaborate with the three institutions with the view to unlocking the agricultural potential of the state, especially in areas such as cassava, maize, poultry, and aquaculture.
Dr. Audu Grema, who spoke on behalf of the delegation explained the mission of the team to the state and also put in context the work of the Gatesn Foundation in Nigeria, and Africa in general with regards to agriculture and other sectors.
Like in other states in the country, most of the arable land in Ogun is untapped, and a lot of youth in the state migrate to urban areas in search of white-collar jobs, which in most cases are not available.
Amosun said he intended to reverse the rural-urban migration by making agriculture attractive. “This can only happen if the state and the country at large adopted mechanization,” said Claude Fauquet, a Director with the Global Cassava Partnerships for the 21st century.
On the delegation to the governor were; Alfred Dixon and Godwin Atser (from IITA); Dennis Kyetere, Emmanuel Okogbeni, Mavindidze Donald, George Marechera, and Abu Umar (from AATF); Enock Chikava, Lawrence Kent, Jacob Mignouna, and Audu Grema (from the Gates Foundation); and Claude Fauquet (from GCP21).