East Africa coffee: getting too hot to handle

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Chart showing Non-linear model of Arabica coffee yield in northern Tanzania regressed by minimum temperature, extrapolated to 18°C.

Do you know that rising night time temperatures might eventually lead to the disappearance of the world’s favorite hangover cure and morning kick-start brew? An IITA-led research has shown that elevated night time temperature is the most significant climatic variable responsible for diminishing Arabica coffee yields. The sensitive Coffea arabica berries need low temperatures to grow well and produce high-quality … Read More

Averting a chocolate meltdown in West Africa

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Picture of smallholders farmers

Demand for cocoa is increasing worldwide by 2-3% annually, particularly due to growing consumer demand in Asia. About 70% of the supply originates from West Africa where cocoa is produced primarily by smallholders with fields of less than 5 hectares. The smallholder yields are low (10-30% of potential) and highly variable with little use of external nutrient inputs. Traditionally, cocoa … Read More

Hotter climate making insects go bonkers?

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Crop insects and mites are tiny organisms that cannot regulate their own body temperature. Therefore, rising temperatures brought about by climate change are likely to have a strong effect on their functions and behaviors. To determine the impact of a hotter climate on – and consequent reaction of – insect or mite species of important crops in Africa, IITA researchers … Read More

The right information in the right hands

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Establishing and understanding existing knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs is the first logical step in designing any strategy. On the issue of agriculture in climate change, knowing what farmers know, believe, and perceive are vital prerequisites for key actors and decision makers to develop and implement relevant climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies that farmers will accept and apply. In 2014, … Read More

Investing in soils

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Picture of packing of NoduMax that conforms to international standards in terms of product labeling and shelf life

As outlined in our Refreshed Institutional Strategy 2012-2020, one of our missions is to redirect over 7.5 million hectares of underutilized, marginal, and degraded lands to more productive and sustainable use. This statement is a testament to the invaluable role that land – the soil – plays in reducing poverty and improving the lives of the people that we serve … Read More

The ‘Roots’ show the way

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Chart showing Figure 1. production increase (t)/farm at different intensities of adoption

In our Refreshed Institutional Strategy for 2012–2020 we commit ourselves to lifting 11 million Africans out of poverty and redirecting some 7 million hectares of underutilized, marginal, and degraded lands to more productive and sustainable use. To realize this, expanding investment in agricultural research and technology development and delivery is crucial. Agricultural research holds considerable potential for achieving broad-based technological … Read More

Saving the basin

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Chart showing cross-sectorial dialogue between the agricultural and conservation/forest communities

Within the Congo Basin, pressure on forests has resulted deforestation or forest degradation. Intensification of agriculture in the forest margins associated with appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks can reduce such pressures (Maertens et al. 2006). Within IITA’s natural resources management (NRM) research area, we have started engaging with conservation organizations and other development partners, such as the African Wildlife Foundation … Read More

Innovation and R4D platforms – Together we grow

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Picture ofHumidtropics Nigeria Team and Lagbedu IP members visit a cocoa farm in Lagbedu

Several CGIAR Research Programs involving IITA have adopted the multi-stakeholder platform (MSPs) approach to achieve impact. Multi-stakeholder platforms are seen as a promising vehicle for agricultural innovation and development (van Paassen et al., 2014). They aim to foster technological and institutional innovation by facilitating continuous interaction and collaboration in networks of farmers, extension officers, policymakers, researchers, the private sector, and … Read More

Unlocking the potential of smallholder agriculture through systems research

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Chart showing Yield of major crops in Rwanda. Source: Tuyisenge et al. 2013. Profitability of Major Food Crops in Rwanda, Policy Synthesis for the Ministry of Agriculture, RAB-Kigali, Rwanda

Led by IITA, the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics) is one of three systems research programs, that focuses on sustainable intensification of farming systems, including the improvement of social and ecological resilience, and the maintenance of ecosystem integrity within farming systems. In 2014, Humidtropics looked at strengthening the systems research dimension in various research … Read More

IYA: Promoting agriculture as a viable business venture

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Agriculture suffers from entrenched negative perceptions among the African youth. In the minds of many young Africans, farming is poor man’s work involving backbreaking labor in the fields and showing little for it. In 2011, a group of enterprising young individuals – the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) – decided to show that this could be different. Their mission: to make … Read More