At IITA’s 50th anniversary, IFAD president lauds institution’s antecedents
Nwaze, who gave the keynote address as the guest of honour, described IITA as an institution that has helped rebuild the resilience of millions of smallholders in Africa, noting that its work has resulted in less women, men, and children going to bed hungry every night.
“It is with great pleasure and gratitude to be here, and an honor to initiate the 50th anniversary celebration of IITA. IITA holds a special place in my heart. There is much for IITA to be proud of over the past 50 years. It is an institute of incubation for the youths who have a bright future in agriculture.”
He urged the youths to seize the opportunities in agriculture and to never hesitate in exploring the different and ever growing avenues in the sector. He also accepted Dr. Nteranya Sangingas request of collaboration and partnership.
“Development must begin in Africa, by Africans, and for Africans, because it is an intrinsic process. We must invest in development, and this is where IITA comes in; this is where the IITA-IFAD partnership is very crucial, because we will invest and work as partners.
“When I retire, I will devote my energies to working with young people to motivate, mentor, and support them. I accept the offer to use IITA as the tool with which to further the cause of the movement I will serve your desires upon my retirement in April (2017), Nwanze said.
Welcoming the guest, Dr Kwesi Atta-Krah, chair of the organising committee of the 50th anniversary celebration, remarked: “Today we initiate celebration of our institute. However, an institution is nothing without its people. So today, we celebrate the people of IITA. This celebration is about you, us, and everybody who has been contributing to IITA and what it is today.”
In his remarks, the IITA Director General, Sanginga, expressed delight for IITAs 50 years of achievement. He used the opportunity to seek a continuous partnership with IFAD to continue nourishing Africa.
Partners that included commissioners of agriculture, local government officials, University Vice Chancellors, and other distinguished guests attended the launch event. The program included an exciting Youth Agripreneur debate, which featured representatives of different chapters of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs, on various agriculture-related topics.
At the end of the program, the IITA youth group presented several gifts to the IFAD President for his support to the youth movement from inception. Among the gifts were a specially designed Agripreneur lapel pins, a plaque, paintings, a photo album, and a banner proclaiming: Dr Kanayo Nwanze: the father of the future billionaires.
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