Cameroon seeks to strengthen ties with IITA in cassava production
His Excellency Gabriel Mbairobe, Hon Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) from the Republic of Cameroon, visited IITA headquarters on 14 September. His visit aimed to strengthen collaboration with the Institute, mainly to increase the production of cassava, which is in high demand in Cameroon. He also discussed finding a solution to the cassava root disease in the country.
During a meeting with the Minister, IITA Deputy Director General, Corporate Services, Hilde Koper, highlighted the activities of IITA in various hubs. She also mentioned the agreement IITA has had with Cameroon for about 33 years, stating that the Cameroon Ministry of Agriculture is the main funder for this collaboration. “The government gave us land for research, and we have also had lots of projects from your Ministry. We are grateful,” she said.
IITA-West Africa Director Michael Abberton affirmed this statement while speaking about IITA’s activities in the various stations in Nigeria. He praised Hon Mbairobe for being a great champion of IITA in Cameroon.
Chrys Akem, Coordinator, TAAT Program Management Unit, spoke about the projects in Cameroon and mentioned the challenges affecting one of the ENABLE Youth Cameroon (EYC) projects. He appealed to the Minister to assist in resolving these challenges for the smooth running of the project. He also appreciated the Minister and the Cameroon government for trusting IITA to handle projects in the country. “Thanks for the collaboration,” he added.
Komi Fiaboe, IITA Senior Scientist and Officer in Charge of IITA Cameroon Station, thanked the Minister for visiting on such short notice. He also highlighted the richness of human capacity in agricultural research and transformation at the headquarters that could join forces with the IITA Cameroon team to support MINADER.
Hon Mbairobe expressed joy at finally being able to visit the IITA headquarters. He stated that the Cameroon government trusts IITA’s research and is satisfied with the Institute’s work in Cameroon. “We work with the IITA-Cameroon team on soybean and potato and wish to have a seed farm to demonstrate the excellence of IITA planting materials. But I also want to see what the headquarters does with cassava and how we can collaborate on that to reduce the importation of wheat in our country,” he said.
Following the meeting, Hon Mbairobe went on a tour of the Institute, visiting the Virology Laboratory, Genetic Resources Center (GRC), Semi-Autotropic Hydroponics (SAH), Cassava Processing and Mechanization Center, and the Youth in Agribusiness Center. After the tour, he shared his interest in working with the Virology, GRC, SAH, and Cassava Mechanization teams. He added that there would be follow-up discussions with the IITA team by the Department of Quality Regulation and Quarantine in the Cameroon Ministry of Agriculture.