The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture has received the Outstanding Research Institute award from the Nigeria-based Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL). IITA was honored for its sterling leadership in agricultural research in Nigeria in particular, and sub Saharan Africa in general.
In a letter to the Director General, IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga; the Chief Executive Officer of CVL, Prof. Pat Utomi wrote: “I write to appreciate IITA for its laudable contributions towards economic growth in Nigeria and also inform you that the CVL team has specifically selected your organization as one of the honorees at the upcoming CVL Agriculture Sector celebration. Your recognition is under the Category of Outstanding Research Institute (i.e., A prestigious recognition given to research institutes for their valuable contribution through research, publications, trainings, and advocacy).”
Receiving the award on Friday, Dr Sanginga dedicated the prize to African farmers especially women who in spite all odds have remained a pillar of food security on the continent.
“We are proud of this honor and it demands that we do more to lift more people out of poverty,” Dr Sanginga who was represented by Dr Gbassey Tarawali, Head of IITA Abuja Station, said on Friday in Lagos.
Since assumption of office, Dr Sanginga embarked on a radical transformation of the Institute with a vision of bringing 11 million people out of poverty, and reclaiming 7.5 million hectares of degraded land and putting that back into sustainable use.
The Institute’s strategy emphasizes generating research outputs and having impacts on farm level. Consequently, IITA became a major player under that Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation, playing a critical role in crop improvement, and value addition.
CVL estimates that Nigeria’s agricultural sector, which comprises crop production, livestock, forestry, and fishing contributed 26.63% in real terms to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at the 3rd quarter of 2014 as against 20.89% in 2nd quarter of the same year.
Prof Utomi said: “We are also aware that Nigeria was declared the biggest economy in Africa and one of the 11 global growth generators last year. (The Economist, April 2014). This rapid growth has been accounted for based on the contributions of key sectors (particularly non-oil sectors) of the economy. To further sustain this status, the CVL Economic Growth Sector Celebration Series was initiated to continually identify, honor and celebrate outstanding sectors that have immensely added value in a particular year.”
The high profile event attracted top executives and entrepreneurs showcasing the immense contributions of the agricultural sector to Nigeria's economic growth and making them serve as exemplars to other sectors.