The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a pioneer in the field of “food security innovation”, on Friday received the distinguished Africa Food Prize for demonstrated innovations to improve “food security” in Africa.
According to an official statement issued on the sidelines of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda, the research institution based in in Ibadan, Nigeria, is the first African institution to receive such distinguished award.
The independent Africa Food Prize Committee, chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has selected IITA for its deep commitment over many decades to producing a steady stream of innovations, the statement said.
Reports show that these innovations have especially boosted the nutrition and incomes of millions of people across Africa.
Commenting on the award, the former Nigerian president noted that IITA
stood out for its “steadfast and inspiring commitment to a research agenda that aligns with both our African traditions, as well as the evolving needs of African farmers and consumers for the latest advances in food production.”
“From the cassava we’re still eating today, to the valuable and nutritious soybeans we now grow in our fields, to maize varieties that can withstand drought and deadly toxins – our diets and our agriculture businesses would be much poorer today without IITA’s leadership, and its willingness to forge powerful bonds with African farmers and African communities,” he said.
According to official estimates, overall, for Africans, the value of the crops developed by IITA and its partners now stands at US$ 17 billion and counting.
It said that this is underscoring the research entity’s contribution to not only Africa’s agriculture, but its economy as well.
Speaking as he received the Prize on behalf of his institution, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, IITA’s Director General, insisted on the impact of research carried out to be scaled up and made available to millions of farmers.
“I’m extremely honoured to be receiving this prize on behalf of IITA and proud to be part of a group of researchers dedicated to building lasting and relevant solutions for the continent,” said Sanginga.