Utilizing Soybean Innovation Lab Resources to Make a Big Impact: Perspective from NE Nigeria
"Resources like SIL's free, online course expand the appreciation and adoption of IPM concepts and practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. This will lead to higher yields, an increase in profits, and better livelihoods." - Dr. Dennis Thompson
This week's feature is a guest contribution from Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) collaborator Dr. Dennis Thompson. Dennis is an expert in international seed systems, commercialization and agricultural development with over 40 years of experience in more than 25 countries across 5 continents. Dennis's current efforts are focused on enhancing global agriculture and food security as a practitioner, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Pakistan.
As a SIL friend, partner, and colleague, I utilize the lab’s extension materials, which are rooted in evidence and science, to support my partners across the globe. Most recently, my work took me to northeastern Nigeria to support efforts implemented by the Church of the Brethern’s (COB) Global Food Initiative (GFI), which brings developmental assistance to the local COB affiliate in Nigeria, Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN).
I’ve worked with EYN since 2016 to provide technical assistance on soybean production. Last year, EYN formed an inaugural cohort of 15 young men and women to serve as Volunteer Extension Agents (VEAs), responsible for establishing and operating demonstration farms throughout Northeast Nigeria, which they used as training and consulting platforms to help farmers adopt improved soybean and maize production practices. To support the VEAs with capacity building and continuing education, I utilized SIL’s Integrated Pest Management and Pesticide Safety Training Course, developed by the lab to support soybean practitioners, development agencies, the private sector, and extension agents in better identifying, controlling, and managing common soybean diseases and pests encountered in tropical environments.
The Soybean Innovation Lab develops extension resources and materials, rooted in evidence and research, that benefit development partners in both the public and private sectors. As partners alert SIL to their needs for additional training resources, SIL responds to those needs through the creation of additional materials that have sound evidence guiding their production. This bi-directional feedback loop exemplifies Feed the Future’s research for development strategy that emphasizes the value of evidence-based development.
Partnerships, like the one EYN and I have with SIL, enable evidence-based innovations like SIL’s online courses to reach remote areas like Northeast Nigeria where this information is so critically needed to advance soybean production. Together, we can boost yields, increase profits, and in turn improve livelihoods across the African continent.
SIL is proud to partner with Dr. Dennis Thompson and EYN to provide important training on best agronomic practices for soybean practitioners. We work to overcome connectivity issues by offering free, downloadable training materials. Want to learn more about our online courses? Check out SIL’s online training platform and register for a course today.
Read the full story with photos at https://mailchi.mp/illinois/perspective-from-nigeria.