The Director General, International Institute of tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, has reiterated the role pof agriculture in unemployment reduction on the African continent.
He said this in his remarks at the week-long meeting organised by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in Ibadan recently. The meeting focused on leadership training and corporate governance and the induction of FARA board members.
Sangingaâ€™s assertion on the role and importance of agriculture was reechoed by different speakers, including the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by his deputy, Moses Alake Adeyemo.
While commending the partnership between FARA and IITA, the Governor described agriculture as the key to wealth creation, a veritable tool for strengthening democracy, and the hope for lifting the continent out of poverty.
To transform the sector, Ajimobi said Africans needed to grow and patronise their own food rather than rely on importation. Also critical is the need to tackle the poor image of farmers and the illusion that farmers are always poor.
He also stressed the need for youths to take up agriculture as a profession and promised that his government would increase funding for agriculture and research extension to rekindle farmersâ€™ interest.
The high point of the event which was held in IITA Ibadan was the induction of Dr Charity Kruger as the chairperson of the FARA Board of Trustees.
In her speech, Dr Kruger thanked theGovernor and expressed delight for honoring FARAâ€™s invitation.
In attendance were Dr Kenton Dashiell (DDG Partnership and Capacity Development); Mr Kwame Akuffo-Akoto (DDG Corporate Services); and Dr Yemi Akinbamijo (FARA Executive Director); and other board members of FARA and IITA staff.
Facilitators for the training were Dr Joshua A. Okumbe, Anne Nugo, and Rev Geoffrey Njenga, all from the Centre for Corporate Governance, Kenya.