ACAI, IITA-CWMP, BASICS Commend Extension of Sanginga Tenure

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Crusoe Osagie
Researchers and staff working under the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative, IITA Cassava Weed Management Project, and the Building An Economically Sustainable, Integrated Seed System for Cassava in Nigeria (BASICS) project have lauded IITA Board of Trustees (BoT) for allowing Dr. Nteranya Sanginga to lead the international Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for another five years as the Director General.

Last Thursday, Chairman of IITA BoT, Dr. Bruce Coulman announced, “Sanginga has accepted our offer of an additional five year term as Director-General, beginning 01 November, 2016.”

This resolution, researchers said, will bring stability and continuity to cassava research in particular, and the IITA in general.
Since assumption of office in 2011,Sanginga championed the rejuvenation of IITA and the resuscitation of key programmes to help change Africa’s agriculture narrative.

“For instance, the investment in the Weed Science Program facilitated the funding of the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project, the investment in IITA Youth Agripreneurs has attracted the interest of several African countries, development partners, and the AfDB. The cassava bread program revived the interest of African governments in cassava production with Nigeria reintroducing the 10 percent cassava inclusion in wheat bread policy.” IITA said.

Sanginga has more than doubled the Institute’s budget and during his tenure, staff morale has remained high. He initiated and completed in record time the Science Buildings/Hubs in Tanzania,
Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. His concept of delivery has led to the building and establishment of the Business Incubation Platform in Ibadan while IITA Cotonou has been transformed to a Center of Excellence for research on biotic stresses linked to climate change.

Coulman said IITA had undergone a period of unprecedented growth in its science capacity under Sanginga’s first five years of leadership. Sanginga remained committed to his vision that Africa can feed itself and that science and technology are the key enablers that would make the vision come true.
Meanwhile, Harvestplus, a non-profit research and development organisation, has appointed Beverley Postma as its new Chief Executive Officer.

To lead HarvestPlus in strategy development and implementation, partner outreach and engagement, resource mobilisation, and thought leadership, Postma succeeds Dr. Howarth Bouis, the founder of organisation and a 2016 World Food Prize laureate.

HarvestPlus, a joint venture created by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in 2003, improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified food crops

that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and provides global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology.
In Nigeria, the organisation works with the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Health as well as other partners to deliver and disseminate the nutrient-rich crops to over 1million households to tackle the scourge of malnutrition, which, according to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), claims the lives of 2300 children and 145 pregnant women everyday.

Reacting to the appointment, the Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Dr. Shenggen Fan, said, “We are extremely fortunate to have recruited Beverley Postma as the new CEO of HarvestPlus. She is a highly qualified candidate with a strong and varied background and a passion for uniting nutrition and agriculture to benefit millions of vulnerable people around the world. We are excited to have her leadership as HarvestPlus progresses to its next phase.”

Dr. Ruben Echeverría, Director General of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, said “Beverley’s international experience and her familiarity with
food issues, innovation and multi-stakeholder partnerships are important assets for HarvestPlus and the global biofortification movement.”

Postma has 25 years of experience as a policy expert in International food systems, nutrition and food security. She comes to HarvestPlus after six years as founder and Executive Director of Singapore-based Food Industry Asia (FIA), a successful non-profit regional platform tackling food security, nutrition and regulatory
harmonisation.