IITA Unveils Five-year Agric Devt Plan

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By Crusoe Osagie

Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, has laid out the Institute’s priorities for his second term, saying that the move is necessary to correct the imbalance resulting from the influx of projects, funds, staff, and partners from 2011 to 2016. These were laid out in his recent report to the IITA Board of Trustees.

According to the report, for the next five years, IITA’s operations need to be “reorganized 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,” DG Sanginga said.

He also noted that IITA must increase its funding support to about $200 million per year over the next five years to deliver targeted impacts on African agriculture.

“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.”

In addition to aligning the Institute’s R4D programs to CGIAR 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.

He expressed optimism that these goals will be achieved in 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 5 years with my ship and crew.