Main visual illustrating people at the General Assembly

INCiTiS-FOOD General Assembly: Insights from Nigeria

In the heart of Nigeria, at the University of Ibadan, a significant event took place – the General Assembly (GA) of the INCiTiS-FOOD project. From February 5th to 9th, 2024, minds united, ideas blossomed, and commitments to sustainable agri-food practices in Africa were strengthened.

In the text below, we will summarize each day of the GA, focusing on key events. But before we dive into that, let’s first understand what the General Assembly is and why this gathering is significant. So, keep reading if you want to learn more about the impactful outcomes the General Assembly of INCiTiS-FOOD in Nigeria initiated.

Understanding the General Assembly

The General Assembly serves as a central moment for collaborative projects like INCiTiS-FOOD. It’s a gathering of stakeholders, partners, and experts where they discuss future plans and efforts towards a shared vision. It also acts as a “yearly mark” allowing partners to strategically position themselves for the new year to come while reflecting back on the one that has passed. During this event, work package leaders present milestones and key strategies for the future while reviewing the tactics and activities that worked so far. The recent General Assembly in Nigeria highlighted dedication to making the African continent more sustainable. Participants immersed themselves in discussions ranging from innovative agricultural techniques to inclusive community engagement strategies.

Now that we have a general understanding of the GA, let’s explore in detail how each day unfolded during the General Assembly of INCiTiS-FOOD in Nigeria.

Day 1: The Beginning of a Transformative Journey

The INCiTiS-FOOD 2nd General Assembly kicked off with promising energy and enthusiasm. The first day began with a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Adebowale, setting the stage for discussions on collaboration and agricultural innovation across Africa. After that, LOC Chair and Living Lab lead, Dr Olusegun Oyebola from the University of Ibadan, Institutional LEAR, Prof. Aderonke Baiyeroju (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics), and project coordinator Dr Gertrud Buchenrieder, from the Universität der Bundeswehr München welcomed the participants with their speeches.

As the day unfolded, participants witnessed the opening of the University of Ibadan Living Lab (LL), where they saw the structure of the LL, and got an understanding of its progress and future plans. With WP2 presenting strategic insights and Rolf Morgenstern from Fachhochschule Südwestfalen, University of Applied Sciences outlining key initiatives for the year ahead, the day was brought to an end. Finally, the first day of INCiTiS-FOOD was completed with a hydroponics workshop, continuing the cultivation of the EU-AU partnership and knowledge exchange.

Day 2: Diving into Joint Efforts

On the second day of the INCiTiS-FOOD General Assembly in Nigeria, the consortium remained fully engaged in a series of activities at the University of Ibadan. Work Package 1 (WP1) leader Prof. Grace Wamue-Ngare from Kenyatta University, explained in detail the outcomes and implications of the Food System Analysis (FSA), emphasizing its integration into various project initiatives.

Looking ahead to 2024, the WP1 leader outlined plans for collaboration with the SmartAgriHubs Innovation Portal and future onboarding processes. Following the WP1 discourse, the Work Package 3 (WP3) leader opened the discussion on the next steps and key objectives for the upcoming period, highlighting the importance of conducting business feasibility studies and developing innovative business models. The presentation of WP3 was concluded with a discussion of Open Call.

The day also featured a meeting with His Excellency Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde, the Governor of Oyo State, where the team shared insights into the benefits of innovative circular solutions for African city regions and discussed collaborative opportunities. The day concluded with a productive hydroponics workshop led by Francesco Orsini and his team from Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna. They continued working on the carbonization of the waste from the rice processing industry so that it could be used as the substrate of the Living Lab solutions.

The carbonized substrate is great for holding plants and has a good water retention capacity. The aim is to create a simplified nutrient film technique from recovered material to minimize production costs and enhance the possibility of solution adoption in the LLs. During the hydroponics workshop, construction commenced on the grow beds and Dutch vases which will be reiterated during the duration of the whole GA.

In text visual representing people working at the General Assembly

Day 3: A Focus on Inclusivity and Strategic Planning

As the General Assembly progressed, Day 3 showcased the INCiTiS-FOOD Consortium’s commitment to inclusivity and strategic planning. Osnat Gillor from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev shared protocols for analyzing contamination and food safety of hydroponic crops, underscoring the importance of knowledge sharing for maintaining food safety within Living Labs. The inclusivity team (comprising of 3 INCiTiS-FOOD partners namely Women Engage for a Common Future, Kenyatta University and Youth 4 Development)  emphasized the bridge between awareness and inclusion, paving the way for respectful collaboration through the introduction of the Code of Conduct Posters. Discussions on youth inclusion led by Emmanuel Kyengo from Youth 4 Development shed light on the importance of meaningful participation.

Meanwhile, Maja Radisic and Olivera Stojilovic Trivunic from Foodscale Hub, elaborated on activities within Work Package 5 and Work Package 3, outlining upcoming Open Calls and strategic planning initiatives for INCiTiS-FOOD dissemination and communication. The day wrapped up with further progress in the hydroponics workshop, facilitating cross-sharing of knowledge between different Living Labs within INCiTiS-FOOD.

Day 4: Navigating Financial Aspects and Policy Frameworks

On Day 4, the INCiTiS-FOOD Consortium discussed critical aspects of financial management and policy frameworks. Birte Wolff from Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR) GmbH briefed partners on important financial topics and introduced the concept of a financial and reporting help desk to ensure all partners remained on track. Work Package 4 insights into impact assessment and policy frameworks were provided, emphasizing the project’s alignment with the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. A highlight of the day was a prestigious meeting of the INCiTiS-FOOD consortium with the Royal King of Ibadan, Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun. Finally, advancements in the hydroponics workshop marked the end of day 4!

In-text visual illustrating people at General Assembly

Day 5: Reflecting on Achievements and Looking Ahead

As the General Assembly drew to a close, Day 5 represented the conclusion of a dynamic and engaging 5-day meeting at the University of Ibadan Living Lab. Discussions on Living Lab onboarding strategies and best practices highlighted the consortium’s commitment to knowledge sharing and expertise development. The day also celebrated the winner of the Social Media Advocacy Campaign, recognizing Sylvere Mboumba, from Université des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku, for his project advocacy efforts.

Participants reflected on their experiences and tidied up the remaining aspects of the constructed growing systems, paving the way for the continued development of Living Lab technologies. As the INCiTiS-FOOD project concluded its General Assembly, gratitude was extended to all involved, acknowledging the collaborative spirit and dedication that marked the event’s success.

Looking Ahead

As the GA concluded, participants departed with a sense of purpose and determination. The seeds of change planted during those five days in Nigeria are set to blossom into concrete results. With continued dedication and collaboration, INCiTiS-FOOD is determined to contribute to sustainable agri-food practices and circular solutions across Africa.


The INCiTiS-FOOD General Assembly in Nigeria was more than just a meeting; it symbolized a coming together of diverse perspectives and a symbol of optimism for sustainable progress. As we look back on the wisdom gained and the connections made, let us uphold the values of teamwork and creativity, confident that united efforts can pave the way for a better, more sustainable future for everyone.

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