Access to information on innovation and research results is a key factor for Africa to address the issue of agricultural development and achieve zero hunger. Communicating agricultural information is essential for smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and livelihood. In Africa, using radio, television, and social media platforms to disseminate vital agricultural messages has proven to be an excellent resource for increasing agricultural growth.
Radio IITA, on 17 August 2023, launched a Farmers’ Outreach Program designed to disseminate IITA research-validated knowledge on modern agronomic practices of Soybean farming and the application of Nodumax.
Ten young farmers in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria, were selected, trained in this regard, and supported with planting materials and other required inputs for soybean farming.
Kathy Lopez, Head of Communication IITA, welcomed the farmers in her opening speech while briefly introducing Radio IITA, which started its operations as an internet facility and metamorphosed into a terrestrial radio in 2021. She told the farmers that the objective of the radio is to reach farmers who are the end-users of the technologies and innovations of IITA.
In a brief overview of what the project is all about, Dajie Odok, Radio IITA Producer and Focal person for the radio, told the farmers that the project is all about introducing, training, and equipping them with IITA’s improved agricultural technologies and innovations. “The Radio IITA Farmers Outreach Program is a new project, and this is our maiden edition; we are happy that you are our first participants. We intend to extend this training through our radio to other farmers in other remote parts of Nigeria and beyond”, she said
During his keynote address, Dr. Debo Akande, CEO of IITA Business Incubation Platform and Special Adviser to the state government on agribusiness, spoke on developments in soybean production and identified the crop as crucial in solving the problem of poverty and food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa. He also advised the youths to be proactive, search for opportunities in agriculture, and shun the attitude of entitlement prevalent among African youths. As a further contribution, he announced that the ten farmers would be incorporated into the Oyo State Soybean Empowerment program and become ambassadors of the crop.
IITA Soybean Unit Head, Dr. Abush Abebe, spoke on research and improvements in soybean production and trained the young farmers on the proper use and application of Nodumax with a demonstration at the threshing building of IITA headquarters, Ibadan. “Ensure you follow the instructions as seen in today’s demonstration, replicate the same on your farm, and do not go back to your old ways of planting soybeans,” he said.
The participants were engaged in pre and post-test questions to assess their level of knowledge before and after training, including a question and answer session with experts and scientists where solutions were proffered to the challenges the young farmers face in Soybean Production.
Leader of the team of the young farmers between the ages of eighteen to thirty-five, the chairperson of the Soybean Association of Nigeria South West Zone, Mrs. Yemisi Joluwe, who is also the CEO of YSJ Limited, a leading producer of soybean in the State, expressed her appreciation for being part of the event and the pioneer beneficiary of the farmers’ outreach. She promised the young farmers would make judicious use of the opportunity.
Speaking at the event, the beneficiaries appreciated the Radio IITA’s team and the scientists for the new knowledge they acquired and promised to maximize their opportunities.
The Farmer’s outreach was organized in collaboration with the Soybean Unit and the Business Incubation Platform of IITA.