Message from the Board Chair

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IITA Board Chair Bruce Coulman

Bruce Coulman
Board Chair

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 2012-2020 Refreshed Strategic Plan established an ambitious goal of lifting 11 million people out of poverty and revitalizing 7.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2020. IITA social scientists have developed a methodology to monitor progress which shows that significant advances have already been made. The Board of Trustees is committed to providing leadership and oversight to the Institute in the achievement of these goals.

2015 was another successful year for IITA. The budget of the Institute increased by 12% over 2014, the fourth successive year of funding increases. but this came in a year that has been financially challenging for the CGIAR system, with substantial reductions in W1/W2 funding. Through sound financial management and increased bilateral funding, IITA did not have to lay off any of its R4D staff, even increasing the number of both national and international staff, and considerably expanding its research capacity.

IITA completed the first phase of its Strategic Plan at the end of 2014. During this phase, IITA expanded in both human resources and research facilities, particularly in the Tanzania, DR Congo, and Zambia hubs. 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 BIP is to facilitate the scale up of technologies developed from IITA’s research programs and advance public-private partnerships to deliver these technologies to African farmers. The three production components of the BIP, Aflasafe, Nodumax and GoSeed have been fully operational fortwo years. In 2015, 300 tons of aflasafe were produced, much of it going to Kenya to help reduce aflatoxin contamination in maize fields. The construction of aflasafe production facilities is being planned in three other African countries.

IITA is the lead center on the CGIAR research program (CRP) ‘Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics’, which has been the focal point for the Institute’s R4D programs. 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. Several years ago, IITA established a ‘Youth Agripreneur Program’ on its Ibadan campus to provide training to university graduates in agricultural business and enterprises. This has now been extended to all the IITA hubs and will be more widely instituted across Africa in a program to be funded by the African Development Bank. The goal is to get African youth more involved in agriculture, driving innovation in the sector, and addressing youth unemployment.

I am pleased 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 four 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 their continued unwavering confidence in IITA’s ability to do it.

Bruce Coulman
Board Chair

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