Research by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and its partners is reducing poverty and improving the livelihood of millions of people who are mostly farmers in Nigeria, the Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau has said recently.
â€œThe fortunes of many of our farmers have improved in terms of increased crop productivity as a result of the operations of IITA,â€ he said at the Farmersâ€™ Field Day in Minjibir.
Represented by the Director of Livestock in the Ministry of Agriculture, Salisu Ibrahim Gakata, the governor said the adoption of improved seeds was important for agricultural development of the state and called on farmers to tap the improved technologies offered by IITA scientists.
According to him, the provision of improved seeds, capacity building and the training of farmers by IITA have contributed significantly in poverty reduction in the state.
He said the government would continue to support the institute towards agricultural development and promote programmes that would enhance food security and generate wealth.
The Farmersâ€™ Field Day, which was organized by IITA-Kano Station, attracted experts from different fields of agriculture, policy makers, traditional rulers and farmers. It also provided a platform for exposing cutting edge farming technologies to stakeholders.
Dr. Paula Bramel, IITA Deputy Director-General (Research-for-Development), said the institute wiould continue to research into areas that will bring about development in the local communities in particular and Africa in general.
According to her, emphasis is not only on improving productivity but also creating market opportunities through the invention of new products.
For this to be successful, Bramel said the institute was not only focusing on research-for-development but also using development to identify research problems that needed to be done.
â€œThis means listening to farmers and getting the kinds of constraints they face and how we can improve our research for them to get the greater impact,â€ she explained.
Dr. Alpha Kamara, IITA Agronomist said the technologies developed by the institute in the Sudan Savannah are aimed at tackling the challenges faced by farmers which include drought, low soil fertility and Striga â€” a parasitic weed that reduces the productivity of most legumes and cereals.He lauded the adoption of improved varieties and the enthusiasm of farmers in the zone towards agricultural development in Nigeria.