About 60 per cent of the maize grown in West and Central Africa today comes from varieties introduced by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), its Director-General, Dr. Peter Hartmann, has announced.
In a statement by the IITA Head Office in Ibadan, the Director-General said the Institute had remained a very stable research outfit.
He also expressed joy that latest assessment showed that about 70 per cent of the impact by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) of which the Institute is a member in Africa, came from research outputs by the IITA.
Hartmann said the success being recorded by the Institute resulted from the commitment and foundation laid by the staff. He noted that the present management never re-invented the wheel but built on what the staff had done.
On the future of IITA, Hartmann said it was working towards diversifying its support base, adding that the CGIAR was one of the supporters. He sad IITA had been doing “a few things” to help itself in this direction.
Hartmann said that in 2010, Innovation Africa (Research Park for Africa) was created to help capture more scientific synergy.“The physical facilities should be ready by June 2012.
We are building a coalition of three centres to serve Africa’s crop needs,” Hartmann added.The Director-General said IITA was working on a Pan-African wide instrument to help nations to tackle biological threats mainly pests and diseases.“We are producing more commercial products.
We have just released AflaSafe against Aflatoxins. The Gates Foundation is helping us seek firms to produce it commercially. We are clustering IITA scientists in fewer locations, so we can support them better. In short, we are investing in IITA’’s future,” he said.