July 4, 2012
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the University of Ibadan today outlined areas of possible collaboration as both institutions strive to improve Africa’s fortunes.
Areas under consideration include capacity building, establishment of a biotechnology platform, soil health, Geographical Information Science, fund raising for research, food and nutrition, and capacity building.
L-R: Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, Director General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan; Prof. Idowu .A. Olayinka, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Ibadan; and Prof. Isaac Adewole, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, during Sanginga’s courtesy visit to the university… on Wednesday.
“If we collaborate on these areas, we will be able to help tackle the food and environmental challenges facing Africa,” says Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General, during a courtesy visit to the university today.
Established in 1967, IITA remains a leader in crop improvement and the fight against biological threats and environmental sustainability in Africa. Improved crop varieties from IITA have accelerated productivity in several African countries with Cameroon doubling cassava yields, and Nigeria becoming the world’s top producer of the root crop.
At the heart of it, Sanginga says human capacity is a major issue that needs to be tackled for Africa to maintain sustainable development.
“When you go to several African countries, the number of scientists is declining—whether in biotechnology or crop breeding. This must not be allowed to continue,” he says.
Sanginga also called for investments in research infrastructure, particularly in West and Central Africa—a region that is rich in resources.
He says that the collaboration with the University of Ibadan will be of benefit to Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole, says partnership is on the top agenda of the university, stressing that joint efforts with IITA will improve the welfare, nutrition, health, and incomes of the Nigerian population, contributing to the food security of the continent.
According to him, Africa will be truly independent only when it is food secure, adding that the university is well placed to work with IITA.
“I believe that IITA is there for us, just as the University College Hospital is for the College of Medicine… There must be a bridge between us and IITA…and we are ready to work with you,” he says.
With its revised strategy, IITA intends to focus on increasing research quality, capacity building and partnerships. Consequently, a directorate for capacity building and partnerships has been created under the leadership of Dr. Kenton Dashiell to champion and achieve that goal.
Both institutions agreed in principle to commit resources that will advance research for the benefit of resource-poor farmers and consumers.