US Ambassador pledges to spread the IYA “gospel”
23 June 2017
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symington, impressed by the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) program, has said that he is convinced and compelled to share the “Farming is cool” gospel of IYA with the rest of the world.
The Ambassador and his team from the consulate office were at IITA on 19 June to see and understand the impact of the Institute’s research and technology in the development of Africa’s agriculture.
“I will join in telling your stories to the world. They are worth sharing, and I will do so to prospective investors. IITA has finally provided an answer to the lingering question of how to make agriculture cool and attractive for people to embrace as a business,” Ambassador Symington stated.
He congratulated Nteranya Sanginga, IITA’s Director General, for the dynamism in the Institute’s strategy of attracting young graduates into agriculture. He however advised the youth beneficiaries to be innovative and develop ideas that will enable Africa to feed itself.
“I want you, for the rest of your lives, to think of how you will feed not yourself alone but how you will outscale this and extend the benefit of what you have learned within the premises of this institution to others who do not have the opportunity of being here. Always think of growing Nigeria because you are the greatest gift Nigeria has and if you move with your ideas, the world will feel you move. That for me means development for Africa,” the Ambassador said.
He also enjoined government to support innovations that will change the narrative of the agricultural sector.
“It is not for government to help but for government not to be in the way. I want you to think of how you can approach a farmer who makes $40 in a year and convince him that he can triple the amount in a year. I know you can do this because you have the training, skills, experience of doing things differently by using the right technology, seeds, and practices,” he added.
DG Sanginga, senior staff and members of IYA, welcomed the guests to Ibadan and conducted them on a tour around some of the enterprises of the youth.