IITA affirms tenacity to addressing food security challenges
Marks 50th Anniversary In Style
The foremost agricultural institute, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State has affirmed its doggedness to addressing Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation.
Established in 1967, the institute has been working on improving the productivity of major African staples that include cassava, yam, maize, banana and plantain, cowpea and soybean.
The Deputy Director General of the institute, Kenton Dashiell who disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of The Guardian Newspapers, Lagos, ahead its 50th anniversary celebration, in company of the institute’s Head of Communication, Katherine Lopez and Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert, Godwin Atser, said in the last 50 years, the institute has been contributing to transforming agriculture in the continent through research for development.
He noted that IITA was able to achieve the feats through various partners across sub-Saharan Africa and has been able to improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment and preserve natural resource integrity.
On his part, the Communication and Knowledge Exchange Expert, Atser, who outlined the breakthroughs of the institute to include evolving of new technologies to enhance the capacity of local fabricators for processing of garri, developing different varieties of cassava, maize and other staple crops, said it is deploying technologies to address the issue of aflatoxin, which is majorly responsible for the rejection of the country’s beans for exportation.
“We have evolve a keep-bagging system to protect beans for at least one year. The bag simply closes the air, which makes insects within to suffocate and die. As climate change become more pronounced, a lot of diseases are changing. Africans need technology that can improve crops and cassava.
“IITA has a success story to tell in the past 50 years. If there is no IITA, what would have happened to Nigeria? The country wouldn’t have varieties of cassava, maize, and other crops. The contribution of IITA signposts that it is a blessing to Nigeria, if there is anything that happens to Nigerian and Rwandan farmers in terms of agriculture, IITA has a seed bank to give farmers seeds that address the challenge,” he said.
They however, seek The Guardian’s support for the coverage of the anniversary, which would kick-off next Thursday, June 22, 2017, with a Media Day.
The Executive Editor, The Guardian, Abraham Ogbodo assured the institute of the organisation’s support for the coverage of its anniversary, especially the Media Day, meant to provide media partners opportunity to visit IITA’s headquarters in Ibadan, to learn firsthand about its efforts in addressing challenges to food security.