In 2017, IITA—the first agricultural research center in the African link of international organizations—will mark 50 years of supporting national systems and nourishing the African smallholder farmers. Our mission remains: to offer a leading research partnership that facilitates agricultural solutions for hunger, poverty, and natural resource degradation throughout the tropics.
To make sure that we meet our goal, we continue to focus on ensuring four system-level outcomes: increase in food security, reduction in rural poverty, reduction of undernutrition, and more sustainable management of natural resources. These are aligned with the new sustainable development agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, a set of goals intended to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity”. To ensure that the goals are met, IITA is doing its part of reaching partners in government, the private sector, and civil society, through its research-for-development efforts, capacity development, commercialization activities, special initiatives such as youth and women’s engagement in agribusiness and gender empowerment, and public-private partnerships.
Specifically, ITA intends to increase the yields of major African staples such as cassava, banana/ plantain, cowpea, maize, soybean, and yam, by 60%; increase average farm income by 50%; lift 50% of poor households out of poverty; reduce the number of malnourished children by 30%, and restore about 40% of degrading farmlands to sustainable management.
Through its hubs and 15 research stations across sub-Saharan Africa, IITA operates decentralized but integrated regional research programs that work on major constraints to agriculture in Africa, and participates in eight of the CGIAR Research Programs that cut across its major research research themes: biotechnology and genetic improvement, natural resource management, plant production and health, and social science and agribusiness.