The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has stressed the importance of research in the quest to attain agricultural innovations and food security.
The Minister stated this when he visited the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA which is in continuation of his tour of Agricultural projects in the Federal Capital Territory in order to assess their impact and ensure that they effectively meet the yearnings of residents of the FCT.
The Minister who was received on arrival by the Head of Station of the Institute, Dr. Gbassey Tarawali commended the Institute for its efforts over the years through intense research works especially in the development of improved seed varieties and capacity building that has helped to boost agriculture in the FCT and the country at large.
He reiterated the commitment of the present Administration to foster Public – Private partnership towards repositioning the Agricultural sector not just as an avenue for job creation but, also, towards providing the much needed impetus for sustainable economic development of the country.
He assured the Institute that the FCT Administration through the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat will, continue to work closely with the Institute to provide the necessary governmental support from the Administration towards addressing some of their challenges and ensuring smooth operations in the institute.
The FCT Administration he stated has already began the implementation of various Agricultural programmes aimed at bringing in youths to become active players in the agribusiness. The Minister charged the Institute to come up with more training programmes in order to accommodate the ever growing youth population in the FCT.
Earlier in his address, the Head of station Mr. Gbassey Tarawali informed the Minister that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA was established in 1991 in partnership with the FCT Administration as an Agric research institute that generates Agricultural innovations to meet the needs of farmers in the FCT.
The collaboration with the FCT according to him has since then grown from strength to strength with provision of not only improved crops that are disease resistant but also high yielding. The Institute he added has, introduced a Youth development Initiative which targets NYSC youth corps members in the areas of training and mentorship adding that with the support of the FCT Agric Secretariat trainees from the Institute will be able to step down their knowledge to grassroot farmers in the rural communities.
Also speaking at the occasion the Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development Hon. Nzekwe Stanley Ifeanyichukwu commended the Minister for the visit which he said is a testimony of the importance the Administration attaches to the Agricultural sector.
The Honourable Minister was conducted round some of the facilities at the Institute which include the yam and cassava field, the yam barn, demonstration plots, fish ponds as well as the banana field.
Assistant Director, Information