Scientists, experts and scaling partners of the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are set for their 4th annual review and planning meeting. The aim is to discuss and unveil the progress made in cassava agronomy and how such efforts are addressing the low yield per hectare on farmers’ fields in Nigeria and Tanzania.
Across Africa, yield per hectare of cassava is about 9 tons per ha as opposed to Asia with more than 20 tons per ha. This undermines African cassava farmers’ competitiveness in the export market.
The ACAI meeting holding on the exquisite Unguja Island in Zanzibar, Tanzania, from 9 December to 12 December 2019, presents an opportunity for the entire ACAI team to get-together, celebrate successes of the project, discuss challenges, and plan for the fifth and final year, says the Project Coordinator, Dr. Pieter Pypers.
This year’s meeting will have less of plenary presentations but more of poster sessions, a world café, breakout sessions and information booths where scientists, knowledge exchange experts and partners will showcase and share ideas.
According to Dr. Pypers, “the meeting will also be about scaling and dissemination ﬁrst, and how we have started gaining momentum with going on the ground with Akilimo. The ﬁrst day will be entirely devoted to how we have been putting our tools to use within the extension activities of our partners. Only on the last day, we will talk about science.”
Akilimo is the mobile agronomy advisory tool developed to serve as the face of ACAI’s decision support system. It combines data, predictions models, software infrastructure and interfaces, using pragmatic and user-centered approaches to provide the information in ways that are attractive and useful to partners, extension workers and cassava farmers.
The ﬁrst day will be entirely devoted to how we have been putting our tools to use within the extension activities of our partners. Only on the last day, we will talk science. – Pypers
Apart from the ACAI team members, partners leading the dissemination of the ACAI Decision Support Tools through extension work in Nigeria and Tanzania expected at the meeting include Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Farm Concern International (FCI), UWAMWIMA, Minjingu, Psaltry International, 2Scale and NOTORE. The technical partners working to strengthen Akilimo (VIAMO 321 service, eSOKO digital solutions and Arifu chatbot) will also be present at booth sessions.
Zanzibar presents a unique venue for this year’s ACAI review meeting. The island is a real gem, a beautiful place with an interesting history, beaches, sun, palm trees and great food.
“We will take the opportunity to enjoy some of the pleasures that Zanzibar has to offer. But Zanzibar is also a place where cassava is grown. And cassava is a very important crop for Zanzibari farmers, both for food and for cash. Together with the Zanzibar Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) and our partners– Farm Concern International (FCI) and UWAMWIMA, we want to demonstrate some of the very interesting work that has been conducted here. We will be taking you out to the ﬁeld, and let you experience ﬁrst-hand how recommendations on cassava intercropping are now being validated and demonstrated to farmer groups on the island,” Dr Pypers added.
Ladoja At 76: Alao pens emotional thank you message to ex-Oyo governor
Ibadan North East/South East Federal House of representatives nominee of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the 2019 election, Mr. Semih Oladimeji Alao on Friday penned an emotional appreciation message to former Governor Rasidi Ladoja, describing him as the most innovative personality in politics.
The Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Ladoja, was born on September 25, 1944.
Alao in a message obtained by Mega Icon Magazine also thanked the former governor of Oyo state for his amazing efforts and support over the years.
The message reads, “Happy 76th Birthday to Osi Olubadan of Ibadan, the most innovative person in politics today. High Chief (Daddy) Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja.
“Not only do you seamlessly adapt to address the emerging challenges from the persistent ones that we face in our society today, but you are also always striving to make things better with new approaches and such unfaltering determination.
“I just want to thank you for all of your amazing efforts and support over the years!
“Many happy returns to you today Sir”, it added.
2020 budget touched all sectors of economy inspite of COVID-19 – Makinde
Governor Seyi Makinde has said that the 2020 budget of Oyo state touched every sector of the state’s economy has requested by citizens and stakeholders.
The Governor, who spoke through his deputy, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, disclosed this at the 2021 town hall stakeholders meeting held at Igboho.
The governor lamented that COVID-19 brought a shrink to the budget on capital expenditure, adding, that the state is still managing to accommodate all the needs of each community as highlighted by the stakeholders.
He said that the state is poised to engage more stakeholders in the preparation of the 2021 budget by consulting across the seven geopolitical zones in Oyo state as opposed to the three senatorial districts for the 2020 budget for more openness and transparency.
Governor Makinde further asserted that his administration is predominantly about inclusion which is the fulcrum on which democracy rests, urging the people to come out and dialogue with government since they are the most affected by the decisions of government.
While x- raying some completed projects executed by his administration in Oke-Ogun region, the governor disclosed that government has begun the remodeling of OYSADA headquarters at Saki, upgrading of various primary healthcare centres and facilities and the set up of a specialist hospital.
The state helmsman urged the people to be security conscious in the face of recent security challenges, saying, security is our collective responsibility.
While responding to the requests and submissions from all local governments and stakeholders, he assured that the state will ensure that the issues of security, education, employment and power supply will be looked into and will get budgetary attention in 2021 within the available resources.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Barr Adeniyi Farinto highlighted the projects the government executed as requested by the people of the region in the 2020 budget meetup with stakeholders.
He said the construction of the Moniya-Iseyin road, return of OYSADEP now OYSADA headquarters to Saki, fixing of Saki- Ogboro- Igboho road among other things are a promise kept by the current administration.
The commissioner urged the citizens of the food basket region of the state to make inputs and cooperate with government in fixing roads and other projedts to enable government in delivering on its promises.
Makinde flags off construction of 360 housing units, Ajoda new town estate
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, flagged off the construction of 360 Housing Units at the Ajoda New Town Estate, located on the New Ibadan-Ife Expressway.
The estate, which is estimated to cost about Two Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira (N2.5 billion), according to the governor, will enhance affordable housing to all and sundry in the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the strategic location of the new estate will ensure that the investors make quick returns on their investments.
In another development, Governor Makinde, also, on Wednesday, handed over the Agbowo Shopping Complex, Ibadan, to investors who have committed to turning around the fortunes of the abandoned complex in 104 weeks.
The complex, which is located opposite the Main Gate of University of Ibadan, was commissioned in 1984 but abandoned 12 years ago.
The statement indicated that Makinde, while speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at the Ajoda Housing Estate, New Ife Road, Ibadan, declared the determination of his administration to bridge the gap in the housing sector in Oyo State.
He said that the New Ajoda Housing Project is jointly sponsored by the Oyo State Government and Remax Realtors Limited, saying that, while the state provided thirteen (13) hectares of land for the scheme, the developer is expected to solely finance the project.
The governor, who stated that the flagging off of the Ajoda Housing Estate is a fulfilment of one of his campaign promises, said the project will consist of 2-bedroom semi-detached houses; 3-bedroom semi-detached houses and 3-bedroom detached houses.
This was just as the governor said that the project will be replicated in other parts of the state so that many residents of the state can benefit from such projects.
He added that investors have begun to repose confidence in the state and are willing to do business in Oyo State because of the way the government is now being run by the present administration.
He said: “We are here today to flag off a project, which is in fulfilment of one of my campaign promises. Those who have taken time to study our Roadmap for Accelerated Development in Oyo State, 2019-2023, would have come across our promise to facilitate private sector-driven housing delivery through variants of public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives.
“And so today, we are flagging off the construction of three hundred and sixty (360) housing units here in Egbeda Local Government Area, Ibadan Zone.
“As I said earlier, this is a PPP initiative. We are working with Remax Realtors Limited. To make this project a reality, the Oyo State Government through the Oyo State Housing Corporation is providing thirteen (13) hectares of land for the scheme, while the developer will solely finance the entire project.
“The project will cost N2.5 Billion, and upon completion, the developers will recoup their finances when the houses are sold. We have seen the wisdom of getting contractors or developers to commit to projects by using their own monies to carry them out.
“Some people may wonder why we are starting off in the Ibadan Zone? Well, the need for an affordable housing scheme in Oyo State is clearly evident. Statistics show that the population of the capital city has been growing at over 2 per cent since 2018 with a peak of over 2.5 per cent in 2020. So, half of the population of Oyo State live in Ibadan Zone.
“But that the project is starting in Ibadan Zone does not mean that it will end here. Our plan is to replicate these housing units in other parts of Oyo State in the shortest possible time.”
He also charged members of the public who are interested in buying landed properties in Oyo State to patronize Oyo State Housing Corporation, adding that his administration will continue to operate an open-door policy.
Similarly, while speaking at the flag-off of the renovation and remodelling of Agbowo Shopping Complex, Governor Makinde stated that the state will work in collaboration with Messrs Whitestone Global Ltd to convert the moribund facility into a premium commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel.
He said the collaboration will be in the form of a long lease concession for 50 years, with a capital injection of N4.9Billion, saying: “Our administration understands that the only business that the government should have in business is to create a conducive environment and the needed support for private enterprises to thrive. And this is what we are doing.
“You will readily agree that the injection of N4.9 Billion into the Oyo State economy is an economic stimulus in the short term which will translate to broader benefits in the long run.
“The process of selecting the concessionaires was also transparent. As everyone knows, the days of getting contracts from the government solely because a person knows the governor is in the past. I make bold to say that the PPP mechanism of the state has been re-engineered for effectiveness.”
The governor assured that shop owners in the complex would have the right of first refusal when the complex is finally remodeled.
He also promised to put up a revolving fund scheme to assist those who may not have the money to pay for the shops by the time the project is completed.
In his remarks at the two events, the chairman of the Oyo State Housing Corporation, Barr. Bayo Lawal, said the experience of the corporation in the past has not been palatable, stating, however, that the pains are gradually being addressed by Governor Makinde.
He also appealed to those desirous of owning lands in the state to approach the corporation for reliable landed property.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Remax realtors Limited, Adefunke Adesoji, said it was an honour to work with the Oyo State governor on the project, which was conceived as a public-private partnership.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Barrister Abiodun Abdulraheem and his counterpart in the Ministry of Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, enjoined investors and residents of the state to key into the projects, which they described as a landmark initiative.
Also speaking at the handing over of Agbowo Shopping Complex, the Managing Director of Whitestone Global Ltd., Mr. Woleola Oluwole, said: “Today is indeed a great day and another landmark in the trending capacity of Oyo State. This is not surprising because we have a governor that is an honour to follow; we have a governor who is a father to watch. Here we are today marking another trend for others to follow.
“In this place today, as it is, in the next few months, we will know, indeed, that the God of heaven has smiled upon us and the rest of Oyo State.
“This facility, when completed, will have a time level car park that will double as a drive-in Cinema in the evening; a 10-floor first class hotel; 600 capacity 3D Cinema in the evening, an underground gaming arcade; what I call the 22nd-Century E-shopping Mall. All of these will be inside 25,000 square metres.”
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