By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga has declared that the institute is committed to eradicating hunger and poverty in Africa by transforming the continent’s agricultural space.
Dr Sanginga stated this at the close of the 13th symposium of International Society of Tropical Root Crops- Africa Branch (ISTRC-AB) held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The IITA DG in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan said the institute is set to achieve the transforming of the continent’s agricultural space.
He stressed that the awards to both serving and past staff of IITA clearly showed the importance and contribution of IITA to Africa’s development agenda.
Presenting the awards, ISTRC-AB President, Prof Lateef Sani declared that the awards were aimed at rewarding and appreciating hard work and the dedication of persons who have contributed to the advancement of food security in Africa using root and tuber crops.
Prof Sanni pointed out that efforts of these awardees and their colleagues have, however, helped in tackling constraints such as postharvest losses, pests and diseases, climate change, and low yields among others.
“For instance, colleagues from IITA have over the years worked with partners including the NRCRI in the development of high yielding cassava varieties tolerant of Cassava Mosaic Disease. IITA’s work in the biological control of cassava mealybug—a cassava pest— that ravaged cassava fields in Africa helped in restoring cassava fields, putting back cassava on the table for farmers and consumers alike”.
The awards were part of efforts by the root and tuber crop society to recognise the contribution of science and technology innovation to food security in Africa.
Recipients of the awards included Dr Nteranya Sanginga, Director General of IITA; Dr Alfred Dixon, Director for Development and Delivery at IITA, the Project leader of the Cassava Weed Management Project; Dr Victor Manyong, IITA Director for East Africa; Dr Robert Asiedu, IITA Director for West Africa; Dr Regina Kapinga, IITA Head of Resource Mobilisation; Dr Nzola Mahungu, IITA Country Representative for DR Congo; Dr Maria Andrade, former IITA staff and 2016 World Food Prize Winner and a staff with International Potato Center (CIP); Dr Mpoko Bokanga, former IITA staff and presently the founder of AgroTEK; and Prof Malachy Akoroda, former IITA staff and now working at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
The Society also gave a posthumous award to Dr Kenneth Nwosu, the former Executive Director of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike.