“When I first came to IITA about 30 years ago, I was part of the team developing the early farming systems concept and that was when much work was done in the villages outside IITA. This development-oriented on-farm research was a context in which we were doing our work in the fields because we found it necessary to have a direct link between the farmers and us, between development and research.” Kwesi Atta-Krah rejoined IITA as director for the CGIAR Research Program, ‘Integrated Agricultural Systems for the Humid Tropics’ (Humidtropics) in late 2012.
A former deputy director general of Bioversity International, he is responsible for providing overall management and leadership for Humidtropics.
“Humidtropics is all about people. It is about seeing how farming communities lead their lives and understanding what they see as priorities, and building our research on that type of perspective with an eye on development outcomes. It is about integrated systems—looking at the entire system where the farmers operate, including both on-farm and off-farm components, the issue of gender, results-based management and knowledge sharing. It is about partnerships—how the various stakeholders work together to achieve the program’s goals. The key instrument that we use is R4D platforms, where we bring together different actors within the system: farmers, development partners, extension people, policymakers, processors, and investors. It basically calls for a different type of partnerships, a different attitude and mindset to research to solve real problems faced by farmers in their communities.”