Transfer Innovations From Research Labs to Farmers Fields

Transfer Innovations From Research Labs to Farmers Fields

From left: minister of agriculture and 

rural development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina; 
Permanent Secretary, Mrs Fatima Bamidele, 
and president IFAD, Dr Kanayo Nwanze at a dinner 
in honour of IFAD president in Abuja

21 August. Ibadan, Nigeria. Kanayo F. Nwanze, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) delivered a keynote speech at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) about the critical role of research in obtaining food security for the country and beyond.

“No one is better placed to know conditions on the ground in Nigeria, and to discover solutions to the country’s challenges, than Nigerian scientists themselves. We cannot and should not rely exclusively on research done in developed countries to address the needs of developing countries.” 

Nwanze, a scientist by training, was previously Director-General of the Africa Rice Center for a decade.
As the largest producer of cassava, Nwanze said the country’s agricultural sector has immense potential, and that research and development of rural areas are vital to its development. He said that scientists must understand the environment where their innovations and breakthroughs will be used, and the needs of the people who live there. If they don’t, their research will never get beyond the lab.

“For research to move from the lab to the field, it needs to be supported by a strong extension system and enabling policies that link research to products and markets so that the applications benefit both the public and private sectors.”

From left: vice chancellor, university of Ibadan, 
prof Isaac Adewole; president IFAD, Dr Kanayo Nwanze and 
the director general, IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, 
at a lecture on investing in agriculture for 
the future of Nigeria in Ibadan on Tuesday (21/8/12)

IFAD has worked in Nigeria since 1985, and today is partnering with the government on three programmes to strengthen the country’s rural sector, with a special focus on women and young people. The new Value Chain Development Programme, which was approved by IFAD’s Executive Board in April 2012, will help strengthen the existing extension system in Nigeria.

A strong extension system ensures the link between research and farmers, taking new technology from the lab to the farm. Through its interaction with small farmers, extension feeds back information to the scientists to adapt research results to the farmers’ needs. The programme will take a holistic approach, driven by demand, to address constraints along cassava and rice value chains. Through an inclusive strategy, it will strengthen the capacity of producers and processors as well as public and private institutions, service providers, policy-makers and regulators.

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