“I did my B.Agric in Nigeria; specializing in plant breeding and seed technology. In 2018, I came to the Netherlands where I obtained an MSc in Plant Sciences at WUR University in Wageningen. I am now looking for a job, preferably at a seed breeding company. While searching for jobs, I noticed the voluntary assignment on the Connecting Diaspora website for an expert in Tomato Seed Breeding Technology with the National Horticulture Research Institute NIHORT in Ibadan, Oyo State.
I was super excited because this is what I love to do: working in my area of expertise and sharing my knowledge at the same time. The fact that the assignment is offered by IOM, an intergovernmental organization, I found very reassuring. CD4D2 gives me the opportunity to contribute to the development of my country. And what is really important: contributing to sustainable development directly benefits the wider community. This assignment is an excellent way to give back expertise and to introduce methodologies and digital techniques which are used in the western world. I did my assignment in the spring of 2021 and quickly realized I have so much to give to the staff of the Tomato Breeding Team at NIHORT.”
The National Horticultural Research Institute NIHORT was set up in 1975 with the assistance of the UN Development Programme in conjunction with the Food and Agricultural Organization as the nationwide fruit and vegetable research and demonstration centre. Babatunde was asked to assist with improving the tomato seed breeding programme and product development, to advise on data collection and analysis and to increase yield potential, and also to advise on seed harvesting and storing.
“To contribute to their efficiency and bring them up to speed with the way seed breeding is being done in the Netherlands, it is vital to involve diasporas in knowledge sharing assignments, because our social and cultural connection has such a big impact. Originally, I come from Oyo state and during the training, I quickly changed from English to the local dialect. This created a positive vibe and better understanding. The staff also found it easier to give feedback. Their enthusiasm was so motivating. For me, it is clear why IOM is running this project; knowledge sharing is not a one-way system – it is a mindset. It works both ways.”