Message from the Board Chair

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Picture of Bruce Coulman, Board Chair
Picture of Bruce Coulman, Board Chair

Bruce Coulman, Board Chair

IITA is the lead center on the CGIAR research program (CRP) Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics which is the focal point for the Institute’s R4D programs. Flagship projects are underway in south-east Asia, Central America, and two areas of Africa. Six CGIAR centers are partners in Humidtropics and the program has numerous non-CGIAR collaborators. IITA is a partner in eight other CRPs with major research activities in Roots, Tubers and Bananas, MAIZE, and Grain Legumes.

The mission of IITA is to be the leading research partner facilitating agricultural solutions to overcome hunger, poverty, and natural resource degradation throughout the tropics. The Institute’s Strategic Plan 2012-2020 established a goal of lifting 11 million people out of poverty and revitalizing 7.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2020. This is an ambitious target; however the significant increase in research capacity and the quality and relevance of the Institute’s programs will facilitate its achievement. The Board of Trustees is committed to providing leadership and oversight to the Institute in the achievement of this goal.

“lifting 11 million people out of poverty and revitalizing7.5 million hectares of degraded land”

By the end of 2014, IITA had completed the first phase of its Strategic Plan. Over the last three years, all Institute research has been aligned with the CGIAR Research Programs; funding and the number of research partners have been increased; and infrastructure has been improved. The 2014 budget was substantially increased over that of 2013; over the three-year period, the annual funding of the Institute has been increased by more than 250%. This has led to a substantial increase in the numbers of both national and international staff, considerably expanding the research capacity of IITA. To accommodate this growth, the Science Building at the Central African Hub in Kalambo, DRC, was officially opened in June 2014. Construction on the Science Building in the Southern African Hub in Lusaka, Zambia, is proceeding well, and it will be completed in 2015. The second phase of the Strategic Plan (2015-2017) will continue to focus on the delivery of IITA’s research technologies to producers in the tropics.

To facilitate the delivery of it products, IITA established a Business Incubation Platform (BIP) at its main headquarters in Ibadan. The goal of the BIP is to facilitate the scaling up of technologies developed from IITA’s research programs and to advance public-private partnerships to deliver these technologies to African farmers. In 2014, the three production components of the BIP, Aflasafe, Nodumax and GoSeed, were fully operational; an Advisory Committee was established and a CEO was recruited.

I am pleased to serve as Chair of the Board of this well-managed Institute and would like to thank my colleagues on the Board for their dedication to IITA’s success. The Board expresses its appreciation to DG Sanginga and his Senior Management team for the significant accomplishments over the past three years and for their vision for the future. We congratulate the scientists and support staff for the excellent research being conducted. Finally, we express our appreciation to our funders who recognize the importance of the work being done and have confidence in the Institute’s ability to do it.

Bruce Coulman
January 2015

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