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 the decision by IITA Board of Trustees (BoT) allowing Dr Nteranya Sanginga to lead IITA for another five years as the Director General.
On Thursday, Dr Bruce Coulman, Chair of IITA BoT announced, “Dr Nteranya Sanginga has accepted our offer of an additional five year term as Director-General, beginning 01 November, 2016.”
This resolution, researchers say, brings stability and continuity to cassava research in particular, and the IITA in general.
Since assumption in office in 2011, Dr Sanginga championed the rejuvenation of IITA and the resuscitation of key programs 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.
Dr 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.
Dr Coulman said IITA had undergone a period of unprecedented growth in its science capacity under Sanginga’s first five years of leadership. Dr 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.