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.
In 2017, we are celebrating our Golden Jubilee. IITA will be only one of four CGIAR centers to reach that milestone, and the first Africa-based center to do so. I am very excited and extremely proud to be at the helm when IITA reaches that landmark.
In the battle against crop pests, scientists must take advantage of all available resources. In the case of a novel piece of research by IITA against the whitefly Bemisia tabaci, this means learning about the way insects use their sense of smell.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), rates of food insecurity and malnutrition are severe and growth in the agricultural and rural sectors is undermined by gender disparity and gender-related constraints, particularly in access to productive resources, inputs, knowledge, and markets. High levels of gender inequality have been associated with high levels of food insecurity.
Limited access to good quality seed of improved varieties by smallholder farmers is one of the constraints to the productivity of soybean in Malawi. The IITA-led Malawi Improved Seed Systems and Technologies (MISST) project, funded through USAID’s Feed-the-Future initiative, attempts to address this by promoting public–private sector partnership to develop pathways for soybean farmers to have better access to seed of improved varieties.
Mechanization reduces the drudgery usually associated with agricultural activities and increases efficiency on the farm. Since the early 1970s, IITA has been developing and promoting the use of agricultural machinery under various initiatives and projects with support from a myriad of donors, particularly for its cassava transformation agenda.
Grains in storage are destroyed within a few weeks by insect pests if they are left unprotected. Protecting harvested grains against insect pests has always been a priority but also a great challenge to farmers in Africa. The most common protection method used by farmers involves the application of chemicals. However, chemicals are often mishandled or the wrong chemicals are used, which endangers the health of both producers and consumers.
Since 2014, IITA has been implementing the “Integrated approach to improve the nutrition status of women and children under two years through nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Eastern Luapula, and northern provinces of Zambia.” It is a project supported by the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) Fund, in collaboration with the Development Aid from People to People (DAPP).
The Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program - Phase 1 (ATASP-1) contributes to the agricultural transformation objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria by addressing the constraints in rice, sorghum, and cassava value chains in the country’s four Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) of Adani–Omor, Bida–Badeggi, Kano–Jigawa, and Kebbi–Sokoto.
The IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) program has indeed come a long way since its inception four years ago, growing in number and activities and getting recognition along the way. The IYA was formally recognized as an IITA program in October 2016.