Daily Trust (Abuja)

8 May 2012

Africa: Organisations Collaborate to Improve Crops, Livestock in Africa

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has agreed to step up collaboration that would bring about crop and livestock improvement to address poverty and malnutrition in Africa.

The agreement was one of the outcomes of discussions between the Director General of ILRI, Dr Jimmy Smith during his visit to IITA Director General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, in Ibadan.

Sanginga said he foresaw a closer partnership of the two institutes.

He noted that IITA alone could not solve all of Africa's problems, hence the need for partnership with institutes with similar vision as IITA.

Both institutes join forces in the past in bringing benefits to African farmers in projects such as 'Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno' or PROSAB.

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

Sanginga said "We need to work more closely to help farmers get benefits."

In his response, Smith said he envisioned IITA and ILRI harnessing their strengths for the betterment of farmers.

He said the presence of a 'crop and a livestock' research partnership in Africa provided an opportunity for the continent to mine.

ILRI is headquartered in Kenya with the mandate to improve the productivity of livestock while IITA has its headquarters in Nigeria with the mandate to improve sub-Saharan's major staples such as cassava, yam, maize, soybean, cowpea, cocoa, banana and plantain.

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