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IITA, ILRA plan increased collaboration for agric development

Two major international agricultural centres have pledged to scale efforts to tackle the hunger challenge in Africa, a statement by both firms said.

The two centres are the Ibadan-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The two centres are part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

The CGIAR is a strategic alliance that unites organisations involved in agricultural research for sustainable development with the donors that fund such work.

These donors include governments of developing and industrialised countries, foundations and international and regional organisations. The work they support is carried out by the 15 members of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres.

The centres work in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organisations, including national and regional agricultural research institutes, civil society organisations, academia and the private sector. The CGIAR now has 64 governmental and non-governmental members and supports 14 research centres and one intergovernmental research centre , AfricaRice.

The CGIAR is sponsored by three UN agencies the Food and Agriculture Organisation  (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.   The statement signed by IITA’s Corporate Communications Officer, Mr Godwin Atser, said that both centres planned to build synergies that would unleash the power of crop and livestock improvements to address poverty and malnutrition in Africa.

It said that IITA Director-General  Nteranya Sanginga  and ILRI Jimmy Smith were holding discussions in this direction in Ibadan. Sanginga had said at a dinner organised in honour of Smith that he foresaw closer partnership between the two institutes.

He said that IITA alone could not solve all of Africa’s problems, hence the need for partnership with institutes that have vision as IITA.  He recalled that both institutes had joined forces in the past in bringing benefits to African farmers in projects such as ‘Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno’(PROSAB), the statement said.

“That project which was implemented in northern Nigeria helped raise incomes by 81 per cent among participating households and also improved the nutrition of beneficiaries.

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