A five-year period of unprecedented growth of IITA leveled off in 2017. The budget of the Institute, which almost tripled from 2011 to 2016, declined slightly. This reduction was felt by almost all the research centers in the CGIAR system resulting from a continued reduction in core (Windows 1 and 2) funding and a reduction in contributions from large donors for certain programs. Through sound cost control in the management of the Institute, IITA was able to maintain its scientific staff and programs, avoiding the layoffs that occurred at some other centers. The increased science capacity, improved infrastructure, and updated scientific equipment that occurred during the period of growth have greatly increased IITA’s capacity to conduct research to deliver on its mission and strategic plan. Effective resource mobilization will be a priority to allow the Institute to continue to improve this capacity. In the new CRP portfolio, which began in January 2017, IITA is a key partner in five CRPs: Roots, Tubers and Bananas; MAIZE; Climate Change; Agriculture for Nutrition and Health; and Policies, Institutions and Markets; as well as three Platforms. IITA’s research programs are well aligned with the CRPs to achieve the CGIAR’s system-level outcomes. Several years ago, IITA established a Business Incubation Platform (BIP) at its headquarters in Ibadan to support the delivery and impact of technologies developed from its research programs. In 2017, there was increased production and distribution of the three products from this facility: Aflasafe, which greatly reduces poisonous aflatoxins in cereals and legumes; soybean inoculum (Nodumax); and breeder and foundation seed of new IITA cultivars from the GoSeed facility. Aflasafe production facilities are now being constructed or planned in several other African countries.
The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program, funded mainly by the African Development Bank, was approved in 2017. This program will facilitate the delivery of proven CGIAR technologies to African farmers. IITA will play a key coordinating role as executing agency for this program, which involves other CGIAR centers and numerous partners throughout Africa. The Youth Agripreneur program, pioneered by IITA, continues to grow. It has now been extended to many African countries under the ENABLE Youth Program, funded by the African Development Bank. The IITA Agripreneur program in Ibadan will provide advice and service to groups that are being established in other countries. The goal of the ENABLE program is to get African youth more involved in agriculture, driving innovation in the sector, and addressing youth unemployment.
A highlight of 2017 was the celebration of IITA’s 50th Anniversary. General celebrations took place throughout the year at the various IITA sites with the core celebration in July, and an international science conference in November, at Ibadan. The core celebration was attended by dignitaries, partners, alumni, and staff and included the official commissioning of the Akinwumi A. Adesina Agripreneurs Building. Over the year, IITA reflected on the many achievements of its first 50 years and the many new initiatives that will foster even greater contributions as the Institute enters its second half-century. It has been an honor to have served as Chair of the Board and Director General of this Institute over the last six plus years. We would like to thank our colleagues on the Board for their dedication to IITA’s success. The Board also expresses appreciation to DG Sanginga and the senior management team for their significant accomplishments and for their vision for the future. We congratulate the scientists and support staff for the excellent research being conducted. Finally, we express our appreciation to our funders who recognize the importance of the work being done and have confidence in the Institute’s ability to do it.