Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has stressed the importance of research in the quest to attain agricultural innovations and food security.

The Minister, who stated this when he visited the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA), in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), in order to assess their impact and ensure that they effectively meet the yearnings of residents of the territory .

He commended the Institute for its efforts, especially in the development of improved seed varieties and capacity building that “has helped to boost agriculture in the FCT and the country at large.” Bello assured the Institute that the FCT Administration, through the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), “will continue to work closely with the Institute to provide the necessary governmental support from the Administration towards addressing some of your challenges and ensuring smooth operations.” He also disclosed that the administration “has already begun the implementation of various agricultural programmes aimed at bringing in youths to become active players in the agribusiness.”

The Minister, therefore, charged the Institute to “come up with more training programmes in order to accommodate the ever growing youth population in the FCT.” Speaking earlier, the Head of Station, Mr. Gbassey Tarawali, informed the Minister that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) was established in 1991 in partnership with the FCT Administration “as an Agric research institute that generates agricultural innovations to meet the needs of farmers in the FCT.”

He added that collaboration with the FCT “has since then grown from strength to strength with provision of not only improved crops that are disease resistant but also high yielding.” Tarawali revealed that the Institute had introduced a youth development initiative “which targets corps members in the areas of training and mentorship,” adding that “with the support of the FCT Agric Secretariat, trainees from the Institute will be able to step down their knowledge to grassroots farmers in the rural communities.”

Also speaking, the Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development (ARDS), Nzekwe Stanley Ifeanyichukwu, commended the Minister for the visit which he said “is a testimony of the importance the Administration attaches to the agriculture sector.”

Source: blueprint.ng

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