Directorate / Event / ILRI / Intensification / PA / Staff / West Africa

IITA and ILRI join forces to ‘unleash the power of crop-livestock synergies’

Village woman and her sheep in Niger

A village woman in Niger feeds her sheep with forage she has collected (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) announced last week that they are building a closer crop and livestock partnership  to better address poverty and malnutrition in Africa.

The agreement and announcement came during a visit the director general of ILRI, Jimmy Smith, paid the director general of IITA, Nteranya Sanginga, in Ibadan, Nigeria. Both institutes, members of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), have worked together over the years in many projects aiming to help African farmers and herders enhance their livelihoods by ‘intensifying’ their small-scale food production systems.

Sanginga noted the similar visions that IITA and ILRI have for African agriculture, particularly the importance of the continent’s dominant agricultural production system, in which crop growing is mixed with animal raising to capture the many synergies between them. Smith said that the presence of a ‘crop and a livestock’ research partnership in Africa provides ‘an opportunity for the continent to mine’.

‘ILRI is headquartered in Kenya with the mandate to improve the productivity of livestock while IITA has its headquarters in Nigeria with the mandate to improve sub-Saharan’s major staples such as cassava, yam, maize, soybean, cowpea, cocoa, banana and plantain. Both institutes operate Africa wide, and have over the years signed an agreement to maintain offices on each others campus.’

Smith was accompanied by his wife, Charmaine Smith, and Shirley Tarawali, who is ILRI’s director of institutional planning. In the past, Smith and Tarawali both spent many years working on livestock research issues at the crop-livestock interface in West Africa, and both worked closely with IITA and its partners in the region. They are excited at the prospect of deepening IITA-ILRI/crop-livestock partnerships for the benefit of Africa’s smallholder farmers.

Read the whole article at Africa Science News: Two research centers to jointly tackle African malnutrition, 7 May 2012.

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