International Association of Research Scholars and Fellows’ (IARSAF) annual symposium is a global platform through which great scholars from different fields come together to interact, exchange their novel ideas through presentations of research findings, proffer solutions and realise their full potential towards a dynamic sustainable agricultural research for development.
This year’s symposium focused on “Food Security and Sustainable development” which explored the theme “Sustainable Graduate Research for Transformation of Africa’s Agro-Food and Industrial Utilization”. The sub theme focused on both oral and poster presentation on the five thematic areas of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) research mandate which are: Natural resources management, Plant production and Plant health, Biotechnology and Genetic improvement, Socio-economics and Agribusiness, and Food and Nutrition sciences with the aim of linking research to industries in order to improve innovation, evolve new technologies, increase productivity and adopt available technologies and reach out to farmers. The conference was co-convened by the IARSAF Executives, Symposium committee and Graduate Fellowship Program (managed by IITA R4D Directorate).
We looked at how our research findings as postgraduate students could proffer useful advancement for research and development. The symposiums’ main speakers were as follows:
- Professor Michael Abberton, (Head of Bioscience and Genetic Resources Center, IITA, Ibadan): While delivering his keynote speech, Professor Abberton emphasized the need for fellows to read good research articles if they want to be good writers. He advised all participants to read critically if you want visible social economic impact of your research work.
- Professor Felix K. Salako, (Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB): Professor Salako elaborated on the key role of universities in agricultural innovations in Africa. He further explained that “it is crucial for young researchers to take full advantage of this symposium as you are the frontier in solving Africa’s food security challenges.
- Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, Group Managing Director, Amo Byng group, Lagos and Oyo: Dr. Oduntan highlighted on what industries want from Agric–related researchers. He emphasized that the participants should endeavor to harmonize their thoughts, network with other researchers, have a more problem solving mindset and be more innovative in proffering long-term solutions to pest and disease epidemics such as the deadlocks threatening food security and economic development in Africa.
About 200 delegates attended the Symposium comprising high level participants from different IITA hubs, partners, Oyo State Agricultural Development Program (ADP) delegates, scientists, and students from outside IITA, Technical crews, sponsoring company representatives, special guests and their invitees.
This year’s Symposium was very successful due to the untiring efforts of IARSAF executives and symposium committee, the various financial supports or donations received from scientists, IITA students’ supervisors, friends of IARSAF and R4D Directorates. In additional to financial support, the advisory role by from R4D Directorates is highly appreciated.