The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is scouting for about $200 million yearly over the next five years to deliver targeted impacts on African agriculture, its Director-General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, has said.
IITA is one of the world’s leading research partners in finding solutions to hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.
Sanginga, who listed the institute’s priorities for his second term in his recent report to the IITA Board of Trustees, said the funding was necessary to finance projects.
He said “This funding strategy recognises both the urgency of immediate action and the importance of longer term investment for lasting solutions. It both maintains a critical mass and diversity of scientists in Africa and improves the laboratory facilities to cutting-edge levels and increases the efficiency of our operations.
“IITA’s major tasks are to launch an aggressive resource mobilisation effort and restructure the organisation to have impact in this new and changing environment, especially in Africa. Applying country and donor priorities therefore provides the most viable basis on which to make decisions… engaging the private sector and young entrepreneurs, demonstrated capacity development, and transparent technical and financial reporting—all reflective of IITA’s four strategic pillars of impact, quality of research, partnerships and internal organisation.”
According to the report, in the next five years, IITA’s operations need to be “reorganised to manage and operate efficiently for delivery and impact”.
This will be achieved by addressing operational inefficiencies for better delivery, both in support services and R4D, and positioning IITA’s support system to manage new mega projects. Already management has rolled out a new organisational structure to show some of the changes.
“One of the major objectives in the reorganisation of IITA is to strengthen the Corporate Services and finance functions to be able to improve operational efficiencies in support of improved delivery of IITA’s technologies and build a support system to manage mega projects and transform IITA into the capital of Research for Development in Africa.
“In the process, IITA will evaluate and strengthen human resource capabilities across the organisation and build capacity across the upper levels of IITA management, create an environment where scientists work with minimum disruption, and facilitate autonomous hubs where decision making rests with the hub director,” Sanginga said.
He also noted that IITA ought to increase its funding support yearly over the next five years to deliver targeted impacts on African agriculture.
In addition to aligning the Institute’s R4D programmes to Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research(CGIAR ) Research Programs (CRPs ), other identified priorities, include fast tracking research investment and delivery of successful products, such as Aflasafe, NoduMax, and GoSEED as well as revitalising research priorities, and developing country specific strategies for implementing projects.
Sanginga expressed optimism that the goals would be achieved within the stipulated time.
“The second stage of our journey has just begun. I have no doubt that this next journey would be a better one. I am optimistic that everything will only get better. I am looking forward to journeying through the next five years with my ship and crew,” he added.