|Participants with Dr Dashiell (middle) in a group photo|
The training which took place at IITA-Ibadan from September 1 to 13, 2013 was organized by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in collaboration with IITA. In attendance were laboratory technicians (5 from Ghana and 9 from Nigeria) who are either supervising or managing analytical laboratories in their respective countries.
Addressing participants at the end of the training, Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General, Partnerships and Capacity Development called on participants to utilize the skills learnt to tackle the constraints to agricultural productivity.
Linking agriculture to social stability in Africa, Dr Dashiell said, “Africa is passing through an exciting time as governments in the region are waking up to support agriculture... And when we get the agricultural sector right, we won’t be running after our youths.”
The GLP training is a train-the-trainers program. Some of the course participants will be used in organizing in-country training in Soil and Plant analysis upon their return to their countries. Areas of emphasis in the training included the preparation and use of control samples, sample exchange program, use of standard operating procedures, networking for trouble shooting of analytical problems, laboratory safety, and the interpretation of analytical results for fertilizer recommendations to farmers. Participants were also trained on the use of computer software for Laboratory Information Management (LIM), and running the laboratory as a business. Each participant was given a set of certified reference samples to assist them in monitoring the quality of their laboratory analysis.
“We believe that the improved credibility of the laboratory results will encourage small-scale farmers and others (e.g.,food scientists and environmentalists) to patronize the laboratories thus enabling the farmers to better benefit from fertilizer use,” says Mr Joseph Uponi, Manager, IITA Analytical Services Laboratory.
The training is the second in the series. In March 2013, IITA conducted a similar training for technicians in soil and plant analysis, thanks to the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa for providing funds.