The SARD-SC project participated in the exhibition of agricultural goods and services during the recently held Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW) and FARA general Assembly held in Kigali, Rwanda. Project posters detailing commodity value chain achievements of rice, cassava, maize and wheat were copiously and conspicuously displayed in the SARD-SC booths. The rice value chain commodity screened its various technological innovations and developments on a flat screen television for the viewing pleasure of participants. The flagship of the innovations, the GEM rice parboiler, attracted the interest of people and they subsequently made enquiries about the technology as well as other products on display such as the cassava confectionery- cakes, chin-chin, tidbits, cookies, sneh balls- rice products and other sundry products.
Project publications on the four commodities also attracted the interest of participants. Visitors thronged the stands to read and learn about the strides and achievements of the project in all areas of technology, new varieties released and innovations. Enquires and questions were asked about the project and answers were provided by those who manned the booths. Interested visitors to the stands helped themselves to publications of their choice for further reading about the project.
People who visited the stands were liked the cassava snacks on display and they were amazed at the creativity of turning cassava flour into new delicious products. Some of the visitors tasted the products and commented they liked them but were totally surprised to know that such delicious products could be made from cassava flour. One of such people was Nsanzabaganwa Emile, General Manager, Kinaazi Cassava Plant. After making enquiries on how the products were made, he asked if a memorandum of understanding could be signed between the IITA and his company for the capacity development of his staff to learn how to prepare cassava confectionery.
Dr. Hilda Vasanthakaalam, Dean School of Food Science and Technology, Nyarugenge Campus, Rwanda, was one of the visitors to the project booth. She commended the project for the creativity deployed and technology to develop many new products from cassava. She was especially interested in the confectionery made out of cassava flour. “It is amazing to see these snacks made from cassava flour. IITA is actually trying. These are good,” she commended.
The highpoint of the event was when Dr.Akinwunmi Adesina, AFDB President and his entourage and organizers of FARA event stopped by at the SARD-SC booth. Dr. Chrys Akem gave a brief talk on the SARD-SC project and its achievements. The AFDB president commended the project for its worthy achievements and inspected the cassava products on display. While tasting one of the products, Dr. Adesina remarked that “I know these are tasty, I had a couple of these snacks during one of my visits to IITA, Ibadan
The three- day exhibition attracted hordes of people who were so amazed by the various snacks on display, screening of the various technological innovations on the flat screen Television. The exhibition was convened by three CGIAR Centers; IITA, AfricaRice and ICARDA. These centers are implementing an African Development Bank (AfDB) funded multinational CGIAR-led project, Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC).