The Director of the IITA Central Africa hub, Dr Bernard Vanlauwe, together with the ACAI Coordinator for East Africa, Dr Pieter Pypers visited the ACAI team in Nigeria at the end of September. The main purpose of the visit was for Dr Vanlauwe to keep himself abreast with the level of implementation of the ACAI project in Nigeria and to plan for the project’s forthcoming annual review meeting scheduled for the first week of December.

The visiting team from Tanzania was joined by the ACAI team in Nigeria comprising of the Project Coordinator, Dr Abdulai Jalloh; Dr Christine Kyere, Project Agronomist; and Ms Rebecca Enesi, a Research Associate of the Project; together with the Dr Adeyemi Olojede, the ACAI Coordinator at the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), and Dr Mark Tokula— an NRCRI staff. The team visited farmers’ fields and key representatives of state governments and development partners in both Anambra and Benue states in the Eastern and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria respectively.

In both states, the team visited the states’ Agricultural Development Project (ADP) offices. The Project manager of the Benue State ADP, Mr James Ker expressed great satisfaction with the collaboration with SG2000 in implementing ACAI field trials in the state. He promised to provide all the support required from his office to ensure that the project is successful in Benue state, and that the farming population would benefit accordingly.

In Anambra state, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon Afam Mbanefo was very pleased to welcome the delegation. He outlined the Governor’s well-meaning plans to boost agricultural production in the state. He informed the team that the state now has a clear vision and strategy to promote agriculture and make it beneficial to the farming population. He showed the team developments in information technologies which are being used by his office, and that are providing much needed data on agricultural development in the state. He demonstrated the rich statistical information contained in their database with up to about a million registered farmers who can be reached instantly by mobile phone. The team was impressed with the database that would be useful in the implementation of ACAI.

Dr Bernard Vanlauwe and team on a farmer's field
Dr Bernard Vanlauwe and team on a farmer’s field

Overall, Dr Vanlauwe expressed great satisfaction for the amount of work that has been achieved under the project during its first year of implementation. He underlined the need for stronger partnerships, and was very happy to interact with the SG2000 and NRCRI teams. He encouraged the team to pursue ongoing activities so that the project would remain on course. He further encouraged the team to maintain the rich relationship with the various development partners they are collaborating with. Dr Olojede, who is leading the project team in eastern Nigeria, thanked Dr Vanlauwe for finding time to visit his region and promised to continue collaborating with all the development partners to achieve the project’s goals.

For more information, please contact Godwin Atser, [email protected]