Fifty years after signing the Presidential Decree to establish IITA, HE General Yakubu Gowon was back at IITA Ibadan to celebrate IITA’s Golden Jubilee. General Gowon lauded the Institute for the contributions it has made to agriculture in Nigeria and Africa through research, delivery, and breaking new frontiers.

Gen. Gowon paid tribute to the former Governor of Oyo State, the late Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo, with whom he worked hard to make sure land was available for Nigeria to host IITA at Ibadan.

“In 50 years, IITA has matched and surpassed our vision of developing a productive farm system in research and development aimed at improvement and preservation of tropical food crops,” Gen. Gowon said in his speech.

IITA was established in 1967 as an agricultural research center under the auspices of the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. General Gowon was then the military head of state at the time. On his own admission, he fought for Nigeria to seize the opportunity to host a research institute of IITA’s stature.

Today, Gen. Gowon said, IITA plays a significant role in shaping Nigeria’s agricultural development agenda as it did in its formative years and this is reflected across the continent.

Gen. Gowon congratulated IITA on the celebration of its Golden Jubilee and urged the organization to promote youth-led agricultural enterprises.