Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbeh visited IITA in Ibadan, Nigeria, on 10 July, and had said that he is “deeply impressed” by the many commendable agricultural technologies developed there because they hold promise to quadruple production and export for a crop like yam and also for other staple crops like banana, plantain, soybean, and cocoa.
At the tour of the Institute’s facilities including cassava fields, the aflasafe (a biocontrol product for controlling aflatoxins) production plant, the seed yam production facility with the aeroponics system, and NoduMax, a soybean inoculum fertilizer facility, Chief Ogbeh said “…We are seeing amazing research happening at IITA. One issue that people raised when they saw Nigeria exporting yams is the fear that there’ll be shortages back home. We assured them that there wouldn’t be because we are not intending to just sell all the yams and starve Nigerians. But even now, with what we have seen at IITA, we are getting more reassured that that won’t happen because if we spread the technologies piloted by IITA throughout Nigeria, yam production can quadruple,” the Honorable Minister said.
Chief Ogbeh who was in Oyo State on a working tour, had met with farmers in the state and also visited fields in different parts of the state to understand and work out implementable policies based on the state’s comparative advantage in terms of crop production.
But over the years the agricultural potential of the state has not been optimally maximized.
Chief Ogbeh said he wants his visit to remind the people of the state that “there is a future and fortune to be made from agriculture, especially for the young and educated who embrace commercial farming”.
“Agriculture is not just hoe and cutlasses, but also research and science and that is what IITA is offering. This institute has come to play a role not just for Nigeria but Africa,” he explained.
He added that: “Agriculture has a future. Agriculture has fortunes, and with an Institute like this, those who want to go into agriculture and make money should know that there is money to be made. With you (IITA) we can move forward,” he added.