Message from the Board Chair

IITA sees a bright future for Africa, a continent that can become a world leader in agriculture and sustainability. The Institute’s 2012–2020 Strategic Plan established an ambitious goal of lifting 11 million people out of poverty and revitalizing 7.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2020. The Board of Trustees is committed to providing leadership and oversight to the Institute in the achievement of this goal.

Bruce Coulman
Board Chair

IITA sees a bright future for Africa, a continent that can become a world leader in agriculture and sustainability. The Institute’s 2012–2020 Strategic Plan established an ambitious goal of lifting 11 million people out of poverty and revitalizing 7.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2020. The Board of Trustees is committed to providing leadership and oversight to the Institute in the achievement of this goal.

IITA has undergone a period of unprecedented growth over the last five years. Its budget has tripled since 2011, resulting in a doubling of the number of internationally recruited scientists. State-of-the-art science buildings have been constructed in the eastern, southern, and central African hubs in Tanzania, Zambia, and DR Congo, as well as in Mozambique. The increased science capacity, improved infrastructure, and updated scientific equipment have greatly increased IITA’s capacity to conduct research to deliver on its mission and strategic plan.

IITA has been the lead center on the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics, which has been the focal point for the Institute’s R4D programs. This CRP ended in December, 2016, and will not be a stand-alone program in the second round of CRPs, starting in 2017. However, several projects in the CRP have been incorporated in the new Agri-Food Systems CRPs. In the new CRP portfolio, IITA is a key partner in five CRPs—Roots, Tubers and Bananas, MAIZE, Climate Change, Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, and Policies, Institutions and Markets, as well as three Platforms. IITA’s research programs are well aligned with the CRPs to achieve the CGIAR’s system-level outcomes.

To support the delivery and impact of technologies developed from its research programs, IITA established a Business Incubation Platform (BIP) at its main headquarters in Ibadan, which is being extended to other IITA locations. Three products are now being produced and distributed from this facility: Aflasafe, which greatly reduces poisonous aflatoxin in cereals and legumes; NoduMax for nodulating soybeans; and GoSeed, a facility to produce breeder and foundation seed of new IITA cultivars. Aflasafe is now being used in several countries to improve food safety and a production facility has been constructed in Kenya, with plans for facilities in other countries. BIP is also involved in capacity development, including the Youth Agripreneur program pioneered by IITA, which has now been extended to many African countries under the ENABLE Youth Program, funded by the African Development Bank under IITA’s technical assistance. The goal is to get African youth more involved in agriculture, driving innovation in the sector, and addressing youth unemployment.

A highlight of 2016 was DG Sanginga’s acceptance of the Board’s offer of a second five-year term as head of IITA. Sanginga’s vision and leadership have been key to the recent growth in the research capacity of IITA and we are very pleased that he will continue to lead the Institute’s growth as the leading agricultural research partner in Africa.

I am pleased serve as chair of the Board of this well managed Institute and would like to thank my colleagues on the Board for their dedication to IITA’s success. The Board expresses its appreciation to DG Sanginga and his senior management team for the significant accomplishments over the past five years and for their vision for the future. We congratulate the scientists and support staff for the excellent research being conducted. Finally, we express our appreciation to our funders who recognize the importance of the work being done and have confidence in the Institute’s ability to do it.

Bruce Coulman
Board Chair

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