Research by IITA is yielding positive results
Research outputs by the Ibadan-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and its national partners are yielding positive results in Nigeria and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, according to Nigeria's Technical Sub Committee on the Release of Crop Varieties.
The committee which certifies and assesses the performance of released crop varieties in the country noted that improved varieties developed by IITA had contributed significantly in raising crops' yield and increasing farmers' incomes.
This has consequently, earned Nigeria the position of not only the largest world producer of cassava but has also resulted in significant gains in maize, yams, soybean, plantain/banana and cowpea production.
“The IITA improved varieties are performing well in farmers' fields because breeding has always been targeted at particular ecological zones and specific production constraints relating to pests and diseases. For example, maize varieties that are drought-tolerant are targeted for the drought-prone regions, while stemborer-resistant varieties makes it possible for maize to thrive in the southeastern zone of the country where stemborers are a major challenge,” said Prof. Peter Oyekan, Chairman, Technical Sub-Committee of Crop Varieties Release in Nigeria.
“Others are high yielding cassava varieties, improved hybrid yam varieties, Striga and Alectra resistant cowpea and soybean rust-resistant varieties. All these are doing well and they are making it possible to increase agric production,” he added during a courtesy visit to IITA headquarters in Ibadan.
Oyekan, who was accompanied by the Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Mr. Wasiu Odofin, said the adoption of IITA improved varieties by farmers had been high and impressive but added that the government needed to support the seed industry to promote the dissemination of improved varieties.
On plans by Nigeria to fast track the release of varieties, Oyekan said Nigeria had cut the time taken to release improved varieties to farmers from about five years to between two and three years.
Meanwhile the NACGRAB has called for a closer working relationship with IITA especially in the conservation of the country's genetic resources.
Odofin said collaboration between the two institutes would create synergy that would better research and improve efficiency in the use of resources.
He commended IITA for the capacity building offered to Nigerian scientists and called for more of such opportunities in the future.
In his words, “NACGRAB is building its core scientists and we need IITA support to strengthen our capacities.”
Dr. Paula Bramel, IITA Deputy-Director, Research, while receiving the delegation, reiterated the institute's goals of reducing poverty in Africa. She also said the institute remained open to partnerships as part of its strategy aimed at improving the livelihoods of farmers.
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IITA - Headquarters
IITA - Headquarters
Africa has complex problems that plague agriculture and people's lives. We develop agricultural solutions with our partners to tackle hunger and poverty. Our award winning research for development (R4D) is based on focused, authoritative thinking anchored on the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with partners in Africa and beyond to reduce producer and consumer risks, enhance crop quality and productivity, and generate wealth from agriculture. IITA is an international non-profit R4D organization since 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the CGIAR.