Improved seed varieties and several other agricultural innovations have the potential to substantially boost agricultural productivity, enhance national food security, strengthen agricultural transformation, and ultimately bring about significant improvements in the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
However, many of the agricultural innovations lack adequate awareness, and therefore not widely used by the relevant agricultural stakeholders including smallholder farmers.
Thankfully, a one-day conference and expo tagged ‘International Conference and Expo on Research and Innovations in Agriculture (ICERIA 2019)’ is set to address the aforementioned problem and other related challenges facing the agricultural sector. The theme of the conference and expo is ‘Harnessing Sustainable Agricultural Innovations for Economic Development’ and the keynote speaker is the former President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Kanayo Nwanze.
The event is scheduled to take place on 24th October, 2019, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos, Nigeria. The event is organized by Nigeria's premier magazine on agriculture, Agrobusiness Times, and supported by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), National Biotechnology Management Agency (NBMA), Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Guild of Nigerian Agricultural Journalist (GNAJ), Nigerian Seed Portal Initiative, among others.
The objective of ICERIA 2019 is to propagate research milestones and innovations in the field of agriculture while creating awareness to facilitate opportunities for networking, collaborations and exchange of ideas with internationally renowned leaders in agriculture. It also aims to attract government attention and funding for agriculture research institutes. Additionally, the event aims to serve as a platform to showcase innovations and attract investors into agribusiness, while debating gaps and priorities for sustainable development in optimizing agriculture. The event will further enlighten and educate farmers, students, among others.
According to the Editor of Agrobusiness Times, Mr. Jim Rex-Lawson Moses, the event was necessitated by the need to position the agricultural industry to change the present narrative of hunger, famine, starvation and poverty largely suffered in sub-Saharan Africa despite the huge opportunities for export, job creation and wealth creation. He further stated that the need for robust stakeholders’ engagement and rigorous discourse to chart a new green revolution backed by research and technology is sacrosanct.
The discussants for the panel discussions include Dr. Rose Gidado- Country Coordinator , Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB); Dr. Rufus Ebegba- DG/CEO, National Biotechnology Management Agency (NBMA); Dr. Kenton Dashiell- Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery (IITA); Mr. Seye Oyeleye- DG, Development Agenda of Western Nigeria (DAWN Commission); Dr. Rogers Joshua Tanko- Lead Scientist, Feeds and Nutrition Research Programme, National Animal Production Research Programme; among others.
ICERIA 2019 is expected to draw participants from the federal agricultural agencies, agriculture research institutes (local and international), departments of international trade, chambers of commerce, agricultural associations, banks & professional services companies, business bodies and networks, enterprise partnerships of Nigerians and international counterparts, academics, farmers, advocacy groups, among others.
Together, we can harness sustainable agricultural innovations for economic development.