As the impacts of climate change, food insecurity, and conflict continue to intensify in Africa, plunging parts of the continent into a severe and enduring food crisis, African leaders, organizations, and global partners have continued to work in response to the increasing food and nutrition challenge of the continent.
In line with some of the World Bank’s strategic regional approach to building food system resilience in Africa through collaboration with regional institutions, the Bank’s Nigeria Country Director, Prof. Shubham Chaudhuri, was hosted by IITA DG, and CGIAR Continental Director for Africa, Dr. Simeon Ehui, on 17 August 2023 alongside DDG Partnerships for Delivery, Dr. Kenton Dashiell, CEO IITA Business Incubation Platform, Dr. Debo Akande and some scientists during his visit to IITA Headquarters in Ibadan Nigeria.
Dr. Ehui introduced Shubham, who said he was visiting IITA and Ibadan for the first time to have an overview of what the institute is doing regarding tropical agriculture, yield improvement, and, most importantly, the business model and scale-up plans.
Dr. Dashiell responded that IITA had a line-up of events for him, including a tour of the facilities to enable him to have a first-hand impression of IITA’s work “to answer your concerns about the business model of IITA and scaling; the DG is currently working on IITA’s strategic plans on scaling the technologies and innovations of the institute. You will also have a better perspective after the tour of our facilities,” he said.
Shubham visited the IITA Genetic Resource Centre, Cassava Multiplication Facility, BIP – Nodumax, Aflasafe, and the Youth in Agripreneure.
In an interview with the IITA media team at the end of his tour, Shubham said he was particular about how IITA works with the private sector, “and what was nice to see in visiting some of the facilities is that IITA is already doing a lot of that. Seeing its role as not just developing the technologies but taking it to a point where it has become a proof of concept,” he said.
He also mentioned how the World Bank’s mission to help member countries make life better would only be possible when rural farmers begin to get higher returns for their labor using technologies to raise their incomes. “The bank is looking at private firms taking on and transmitting commercially viable agricultural technologies with the potential of increasing income for rural households across sub-Saharan Africa without relying on IITA, donors, or government to spread the innovations,” he added.
He agreed that with time, IITA will not just become self-sustained and be able to finance its research development with its technologies and innovations but will be able to reach farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Contributed by Dajie Odok