The Nigeria Model United Nations Society recently hosted a symposium to mark the 2014 United Nations International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The Cassava Weed Management Project, Postharvest Utilization Unit, IITA Youth Agripreneurs, and the Cassava Breeding Unit were on hand to exhibit their numerous groundbreaking achievements in agriculture in support of the symposium themed: “The Role of Youth in the Sustainability of the Agricultural Sector; A Tool for Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger through Food Security.” The event provided opportunity for students and guests at the event to understand and appreciate the devastation caused by weeds on the farm, farm families, and the efforts by researchers to turn around the situation.
The Director General of the IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, who was guest speaker at the event, was represented by Dr Alfred Dixon, the Project Leader, Cassava Weed Management Project.
Dr Dixon extolled the gains of agriculture especially with improved practices as a viable means of ending extreme poverty in any society especially in Africa and encouraged youths and every one present at the symposium to explore the opportunities inherent in agriculture.
Making reference to the IITA Youth Agripreneur model, Dr Dixon said the successes recorded by this group of youngsters in terms of agro-entrepreneurial expertise demonstrated that if young men and women were given the necessary training, mentorship and support, they could take agriculture as a profession and create wealth for themselves.
Though for this to happen, he advised that issues such as soil fertility, finance, agronomy including weed management needed to be addressed.
At the exhibition booth, participants were exposed to the various products from IITA’s agricultural research programs, while also creating a platform for knowledge sharing for visitors. A good turnout of visitors showed interest in the institute’s activities as they asked questions about how they could benefit from the wealth of information on display at the IITA booth.