In a move to strengthen international collaborations and witness the impact of Dutch-funded initiatives in Nigeria, Ms. Hilde Koper-Limbourg, IITA DDG Corporate Services, welcomed the Dutch Agricultural Counsellor and gave the opening speech at the event reiterating the long – healthy working relationship between IITA and the Netherland Government and appreciated the Government of the Netherland for supporting projects in IITA and the One CGIAR.
Ms. Inge Tenniglo the Dutch Agricultural Counsellor’s visit to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) focused on two Netherland funded projects namely; Insects4Feed and the Youth in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture (YAS) program.
Insects4Feed: Transforming Agriculture Through Insect Farming
The Insects4Feed project, funded by the Netherlands, is a ground-breaking initiative aimed at developing a sustainable local insect production sector in Nigeria. This sector is envisioned to provide high-quality and affordable feed resources to the domestic aquaculture and poultry industry. Ms. Inge had the opportunity to witness first-hand the strides made by the project during her visit.
Mr. Wole Oladokun, Head of Administration and Corporate Governance at IITA-BIP, representing the Director and CEO IITA BIP, Dr. Adebowale Akande made a comprehensive presentation on the over view of IITA – BIP operations both as the link between Research innovations and commercialization of the successfully incubated research outcomes and a go to within the One CGIAR centers on private partnership engagement which connects perfectly with the role IITA-BIP plays in the Insects4Feed project. He emphasized the collaborations with various partners such as Agrifrontier and Cropnut Agriserve Kenya and in particular, NGN, ProEnto in the Netherland, University of Ibadan, Nigerian Breweries etc in the Insects4Feed project. The presentation showcased the successful incubation of insect entrepreneurs Cohort – 1 and their upcoming business proposals.
Ms. Victoria Ayeni, Business Development Officer, Executive Assistant to the Director and CEO IITA-BIP and the BIP’s focal person on the Insect4Feed Project, shared insights into the Insects4Feed program, detailing the journey in the project all the way beginning from construction of a demonstration farm and the progress of the ongoing entrepreneurship incubation program. Mrs. Inge was particularly impressed and expressed interest in the program’s goals of providing a sustainable solution to local insect production and its subsequent impact on the Nigerian aquaculture and poultry industry.
Mr. John Amole, The Project Lead Officer, New Generation Nutrition, as the project lead on Insects4feed impact cluster, introduced the ongoing Insects4feed incubates and other partners in the incubation program; NGN – lead partner and overall coordination of the project(Netherlands and Nigeria) BiP – Business development/incubation and communications, UI – Research (local insect screening and substrates) Baseline study, NB- Input support – spent grains for the trials, Pro ento- technical support and trainings, Qiffan- insect industry development and linkages to market, Feed calculator – BSF larvae inclusion for small livestock holder and market study
During the virtual presence of Mrs. Marian Peters, CEO of New Generation Nutrition in the Netherlands, and Natalia Naranjo Guevara, an entomologist from New Generation Nutrition, the role of their organization in the Insects4Feed impact cluster program was clarified. Mrs. Inge gained valuable insights into the global perspective and plans for the development of insect farming initiatives.
Youth in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture (YAS): Empowering the Next Generation
As part of her visit, Mrs. Inge also delved into the Youth in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture (YAS) program. This initiative focuses on training and empowering young individuals in the field of agriculture. Ms. Magaji Oluyinka, representing YAS, presented on the impact cluster program for youth training, empowerment, and resource linkages.
Mrs. Inge was particularly intrigued by the commitment to transferring agricultural innovation and technology to the younger generation. The need for funding to further extend the program’s reach and impact was emphasized, showcasing the potential for long-term sustainability and growth in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
The Visit to the Insects4Feed Demo Farm: A Hands-On Experience
To enrich Ms. Inge’s understanding of the Insects4Feed project, a visit to the demonstration farm was organized. The purpose was to showcase the training and demonstration aspects of the project. Mrs. Inge, accompanied by other dignitaries, explored the demo farm, assessing its environment, operational standards, and bio-security measures. The visit allowed her to witness the entire life cycle and stages of Black Soldier Fly production, contributing to a deeper appreciation of the project’s real-world applications.
Looking Ahead: Upscaling and Future Collaborations
As Ms. Inge concludes her visit to IITA, the focus now shifts to the next steps. The upscaling of the Insects4Feed program, anticipation for the commencement of the second cohort, and the rescheduling of future visits are on the horizon. This collaborative effort between the Netherlands and Nigeria holds great promise for the development of sustainable agricultural practices, not only benefiting local communities but also fostering international partnerships in the pursuit of global food security.
Mrs. Inge’s courtesy visit signifies the importance of fostering relationships between nations for the greater good. Through initiatives like Insects4Feed and YAS, the future of agriculture in Nigeria is poised for innovation, sustainability, and empowerment, setting the stage for a brighter and more resilient agricultural landscape.