The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Premier Agribusiness Academy (PAA), aimed at improving farmers’ capacity building so as to improve food security in the country.
Francis Toromade, director general of the agriculture empowerment institute, while speaking during the signing at the IITA headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State, said that the purpose of the agreement is to increase human capacity development through good and most impactful agricultural practice in the areas of maize, cowpea, soybean, yam and cassava cultivation.
According to Toromade, one of the major targets of the collaboration is to bridge the gap between the farmers, the private sector and the quality research done in IITA, adding that, if the gap is bridged and farmers as well as other stakeholders put into practice the cutting-edge research findings of IITA, yield will increase and farming will become more profitable and attractive in Nigeria.
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He blamed the low yield per hectare of soybean in Nigeria on lack of knowledge and technical ability of farmers, stressing South Africa generates 1.97 tons of soybean per hectare while Nigeria generates 0.97 tons per hectare with the same size and quality of land.
He noted that many stakeholders within the agricultural industry are not aware of what IITA is doing in terms of research and how it can impact their farming practice, noting that the partnership will ensure that all the commodities and crops that are the focus of research in IITA like cassava, maize, soybean, yam among others get private sector awareness and patronage.
On his part, Kenton Dashiell, deputy director general-Partnership for Delivery, IITA, said with the MoU, both parties have agreed to exchange information in areas of human capacity development on the most impactful practices (MIP) on IITA’s core mandate crops that will impact private sector stakeholders in the agricultural value chain and farmers in Nigeria thereby bringing about higher produce, farmer profitability and ultimately food security in Nigeria.