The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Felix KolawoleSalako has been inducted as Ex-Officio Member, Board of Trustee (BoT) of the global acclaimed and reputed International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The Induction Ceremony was held at a virtual meeting with the Board Chair, Christian Borgemeister, at the Director General’s Office, IITA Headquarters, Ibadan.
In line with the Induction , the Vice-Chancellor was taken through a guided familiarization tour of laboratories and facilities within the Institute’s premises.
Although Professor Salako had worked for 11 years at IITA between 1989 and 2000, the Vice-Chancellor noted with joy the massive infrastructural development and upscale of research activities within the Institute in record time.
In his Opening Remark, the Director-General of IITA, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga welcomed the Vice-Chancellor back to IITA, stating that “Prof Salako is back home”.
He said that the Vice-Chancellor is now his boss by virtue of being a voting member of the Board.
Dr. Sanginga highlighted the main priority areas of IITA through a slide presentation as ensuring a food secure future for sub-Saharan Africa, while focusing on key research themes that address staple foods like cassava, cowpea, maize, soybean, yam, banana and plantain
He added that by 2050, earth’s population would be about 9 billion people, wondering “where would the extra food come from?”
The Director-General further stated that the Institute’s award-winning research programmes in transforming agriculture span across many countries in Africa, noting that IITA has four Regional Head Offices and 21 stations in 30 African countries.
He therefore sought partnership with FUNAAB In the areas of training and upscaling of research activities, among others.
During the tour, the Vice-Chancellor visited an edifice named, “Building 401”, a place where he worked when he was at IITA.
At the Building, he met his former colleagues like Mr. Samuel Ofodile, Mr. Basil Ohaegbulem and of particular note, Atta Krah, who was employed by IITA in 1979 and who recalled the inspiring experience of Professor Salako.
The newly-inducted Board Member also visited the Virology Laboratory, the Food Science and Nutrition Laboratory, Genetic Resources and Bioscience Laboratories.
Prof Salako also threw banters and robbed minds at Dr. Robert Asiedu’s Office.
Also visited were the Semi Autotrophic Hydroponics Laboratory, NoduMax Laboratory, Cassava Processing and Mechanisation Centre as well as the Business Incubation Platform, otherwise known as the “Aflasafe”.
While meeting with the Youth in Agribusiness under the auspices of IITA Youths Agripreneur (IYA), Professor Salako encouraged the team to start demonstration centres on campuses, suggesting FUNAAB as an available partner.
He, however, decried the security challenges prevailing in the nation which according to him is creating apathy in agronomy practices in rural communities which are the best locations for farming.
Professor Salako charged the team to focus more on research for development, stating that IITA contributed largely to sharpening his research capacity.
Checks revealed that the Vice-Chancellor had his MSc Research work at IITA in 1985 under the world-renowned Soil Scientist, Rattan Lal.