ICRISAT-HOPE Coordinator visits Niger

ICRISAT-HOPE Coordinator visits Niger

George Enoch Okwach with Drs Jupiter Ndjeunga, Moustapha Moussa, DG INRAN, Bettina Haussmann and INRAN scientists in Niger

George Enoch Okwach with Drs Jupiter Ndjeunga, Moustapha Moussa, DG INRAN, Bettina Haussmann and INRAN scientists in Niger

The recently appointed coordinator of the HOPE project, George Enoch Okwach, visited Niger from 29 March to 1 April 2010 to discuss the scientific, technical and management issues of the future process of the project with relevant scientists and technicians.

He talked about the economic issues with Jupiter Ndjeunga and discussed millet breeding and technology dissemination with Bettina Haussmann. Ideas on entomological aspects were exchanged with Alain Ratnadass, and agronomy with Fatondji Djougbedji and a team of technicians. Management issues were discussed with Bila Belemgoabga, ICRISAT’s Chief Administrator in Western and Central Africa (WCA), and communication aspects with the Regional Information Officer, Tobias Dierks.

An important part of Okwach’s visit was the meetings with ICRISAT’s national partner institution l’institut Nationale de Recherches Agronomiques du Niger (INRAN). INRAN’s Director General and National Coordinator, Moustapha Moussa, received him at their headquarters. The INRAN-Maradi focal point for the project, Ibrahim Baoua also attended the meetings. He was accompanied by INRAN experts Marou Zarafi Assane (economist) and Hame Kadi Kadi (entomologist). Furthermore, Okwach met Mamadou Hassane, the secretary of the farmer organization Moribeen, the food security coordinator of Action contre el Hambre, Tanjona and the private grain processing factory at Niamey owned by the business woman Amina Liman. Also part of the program was a visit to INRAN’s seed unit in the city of Kollo.

At the end of his visit, Okwach expressed confidence that the project would be a success thanks to the strong dedication of the project’s partners to its goals and mission. “The ICRISAT-HOPE Project is about empowering farmers, increasing their food security and incomes in a sustainable manner. We believe that these aspirations are shared with INRAN,” said Okwach. After five days, he moved on to Bamako, Mali, to meet scientists and staff members there as well.

The project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ,covers ten sub-Saharan African countries and four Indian states. Partners include Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the International Sorghum and Millet Improvement Programme, Africa Harvest and the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA) as well as the Institute d’ Economie Rurale (IER), Mali, and USAID.