Integrated agricultural research systems key to Africa’s transformation – IITA DG

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By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
The Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga has declared that Integrated systems research approach in agriculture is key to sustainable transformation in Africa.
Dr Sanginga stated this in his welcome address to participants at the “Systems Marketplace” workshop held at IITA Ibadan.
According to the IITA DG, the benefits of Intergrated systems research approach in agriculture included increase in yields and livelihoods improvement of resource-poor farmers.
Dr Sanginga emphasized that the systems research approach places the farmer at the center and develops an understanding of the farm-household, the environment in which he/she operates, and the constraints he/she faces; together with identifying and testing potential solutions to those constraints.
He added that the systems research approach also involves the dissemination of the most promising solutions to other farm households facing similar problems.
The IITA DG reiterated the Institute’s strong history with and commitment to integrated systems research, saying “even though CGIAR would no longer fund standalone systems research programs in its new portfolio, IITA would continue to support systems research and site integration efforts to successfully help with Africa’s agricultural transformation agenda.
“The work of the Humidtropics program has been shown to be very important for improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers, which is attracting the interest of governments and some key donors.”
Speaking, the Director of the Integrated Systems on Humidtropics program, Dr Kwesi Atta-Krah, declared that system thinking was the way to go.
“If we want transformation in Africa, we must approach issues in the agricultural sector with systems thinking because the African farmer thinks systems-on his farm, he plants cassava, yam, vegetables and name it. It is not just a single crop that he plants,” he said.
Over 100 participants including leaders and researchers at the CGIAR System, Center and Program levels, representing subject, organizational and cultural variety attended the 3-day Marketplace workshop.
The meeting was organized by the CGIAR Humidtropics program, in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

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