The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is one of the 16 International Agricultural Research Centres funded by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Its mission is to enhance food security, income and well-being of resource-poor people, primarily in the humid and subhumid zones of sub-Saharan Africa by conducting research related activities to increase agricultural production, improve food systems and sustainably manage natural resources, in partnership with national and international stakeholders. IITA is involved in 12 networks and is the coordinating centre for the Ecoregional Programme for the Humid and Subhumid Tropics of Subsaharan Africa. This is a network, which specific objectives are to identify, develop and promote technologies for sustainable production and post-harvest systems for small- and medium-scale farmers. It conducts research activities in benchmark areas and at pilot sites located in moist savannahs and in humid forests.
L'Institut International d'Agriculture Tropicale (IIAT) est un centre international de recherche agricole fondé par le Groupe Consultatif sur la Recherche Agricole Internationale (GCRAI). Il vise à assurer la sécurité alimentaire, le revenu et le bien-être des populations aux ressources limitées, principalement dans les zones humides et subhumides de l'Afrique subsaharienne, en menant des activités liées à la recherche pour augmenter la production agricole, améliorer les systèmes de production et gérer les ressources naturelles de façon durable, en collaboration avec des partenaires nationaux et internationaux. L'IIAT participe à 12 réseaux et est le centre de coordination pour le Programme Ecorégional des Tropiques Humides et Subhumides de l'Afrique Subsaharienne (PETHA). Ce Programme est un réseau dont l'objectif spécifique est d'identifier, développer et promouvoir les technologies de production durable et les systèmes post-récolte pour les moyens et petits farmiers. Il entreprend des activités de recherche dans des zones repères et sur des sites pilotes localisés dans les zones de savanes humides et les zones de forêts humides.
1 INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TROPICAL AGRICULTURE
The IITA was founded in 1967. It has its headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria. It also has stations in other parts of Nigeria, in Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Uganda. As one of the 16 international agricultural research centres funded by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), IITA adheres to the CGIAR standards of excellence in scientific research and management.
1.1 Mission and Objectives
IITA aims to enhance food security, income and well-being of resource-poor people primarily in the humid and subhumid zones of sub-Saharan Africa by conducting research and related activities to increase agricultural production, improve food systems, and sustainably manage natural resources, in partnership with national and international stakeholders.
The main objectives are:
To accomplish its mission, the Institute conducts research, delivers training, provides information and participates in technology transfer activities with a wide range of partners.
1.2 Geographical Responsibility and Agro-ecological Orientation
IITA activities focus primarily on the humid and subhumid zones of sub-Saharan Africa. The key zones where a large proportion of the population in Africa resides are the savannahs, the humid forest and the mid-altitude zones. IITA crop improvement activities are therefore aimed at those crops which integrate into the systems of these three targeted agro-ecological zones. Decentralization being a key issue in the conduct of realistic and relevant research for the targeted agro-ecological zones, strategically located stations and/or cooperative arrangements are established in each of the key zones.
1.3 Food Systems
IITA undertakes crop improvement activities on cassava, yam, soybean, cowpea, maize, plantain and banana, and other crops as required to fulfil the ecoregional mandate.
The improvement process is undertaken by:
1.4 Information and Training
The Institute conducts training (graduate research, group courses and individual placements). It disseminates information worldwide on all aspects of its research and training activities to interested stakeholders.
Based upon its comparative advantages, IITA enters a wide array of flexible partnerships at international, regional, national and local levels. In particular, IITA forms strong partnerships and collaborative arrangements with the regional and subregional bodies and the National Agricultural Research Stations (NARS) of its mandate Region. These provide the mechanisms for conducting joint activities and assisting in strengthening these NARS.
IITA collaborates closely and, where possible, establishes formal collaborative agreements with other CGIAR centres where there is potential for synergy. IITA participates in relevant CGIAR system-wide and ecoregional programmes. It also actively seeks assistance through formal and informal collaborative links and partnerships with relevant advanced research organizations, private sector companies and NGOs/PVOs.
1.6 Research Networks
Collaborative research networks play an important role in the development and validation of new technologies in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly because of the small size of many national systems. In this context, IITA plays a catalytic role in promoting appropriate networks for the Region. IITA helps with the management of networks, but it considers that it should be seen as a temporary responsibility, which it will devolve to national institutions whenever they have the capacity and willingness to assume it.
IITA is currently involved in 12 networks and is the coordinating centre for the Ecoregional Programme for the Humid and Subhumid Tropics of Subsaharan Africa (see next).
2 ECOREGIONAL PROGRAMME FOR THE HUMID AND SUBHUMID TROPICS OF SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
2.1 Goal and Objectives
The goal of the Ecoregional Programme for the Humid and Subhumid Tropics of Subsaharan Africa (EPHTA) is to assist small- and medium-scale farmers to improve their well-being and alleviate poverty through the use of technologies for sustainable production and post-harvest systems that increase productivity and food security and minimize natural resource degradation.
Its specific objectives are to identify, develop and promote sustainable production technologies and post-harvest systems for small- and medium-scale farmers through formalizing and strengthening close collaboration among NARS, International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs), international and regional agricultural research and development organizations, and relevant stakeholders, for implementing holistic ecoregional research and development activities (comprising of research in benchmark areas and pilot sites; delineation of resource management domains; farmer participatory technology identification, development and testing; research on enabling policies and institutions; and innovative technology transfer).
2.2 EPHTA Implementation
The implementation of the Programme is through the Benchmark Area Approach. A benchmark area (BA) is a representative area, which is well characterized and is large enough to capture important variability and gradients, both bio-physical and socio-economic. It is a focal area for strategic and diagnostic research to link farm-household findings with policy factors affecting opportunities and incentives, to address linkages between agriculture and other sectors of the economy, to integrate bio-physical and socio-economic understanding of cropping systems, livestock, and forestry, and to characterize relations between different production systems and natural and socio-economic resources.
EPHTA partners agreed to set up benchmark areas in target agro-ecological zones. EPHTA research and development activities will be implemented in five countries in six benchmark areas located as follows:
(a) In the Moist Savannah Zone (MSZ):
(b) In the Humid Forest Zone (HFZ):
2.3 EPHTA Management Structure
The EPHTA management structure based on two consortia, one each for the MSZ and the HFZ, consists of four main components (Figure 1) whose roles are outlined as follows:
Figure 1. EPHTA Management Structure
· Local Coordinating Committees
They are responsible for work planning, implementation of Programme activities and liaison with stakeholders and clients. Each coordinator convenes Committee meetings and is responsible for all reporting requirements.
· Review and Work-planning Workshop (RWW)
It is comprised of all BA Coordinators and Coordinators of approved Pilot Sites (PS), the Scientific Coordinator of WECARD, one representative each of IITA and other participating IARCs, the EPHTA Coordinator, and the EPHTA Scientific Coordinator. The functions of RWW are to review and endorse work plans submitted at annual review and work-planning workshops; to ensure that EPHTA activities conform with the guidelines set by the Programme Management Committee; to monitor progress towards EPHTA purpose and outputs and to propose changes, if necessary, to accelerate progress.
· Programme Management Committee (PMC)
It is the apex body of EPHTA, co-chaired by the Director General of IITA and the Executive Secretary of WECARD. Its functions are to determine Programme policies; to provide administrative and financial oversight; to approve EPHTA work plans; to allocate funds for various activities and to ensure prudent use of these funds; to monitor progress towards achievement of Programme outputs; to ensure external representation and submission of funding proposals.
· EPHTA Coordination and Support Office (ECSO).
It is located at the host centre (IITA, lbadan). Apart from the local support staff, it comprises the EPHTA Administrative Coordinator and the EPHTA Scientific Coordinator. All will work in close collaboration to facilitate EPHTA activities.
Within ECSO their functions are as follows:
- The EPHTA Administrative Coordinator is responsible for overall administration of ECSO.
- The EPHTA Scientific Coordinator is responsible for coordinating EPHTA research and development activities.
- IITA (host centre) provides logistical and communication support for the ECSO, appoints and administers all staff of the Office, solicits assured and sustainable funds for EPHTA activities, and hosts meetings of EPHTA's Review and Work-planning Workshop and of the Programme Management Committee.
2.4 EPHTA Membership
Membership of EPHTA is open to five types of partners:
As far as possible, all partners participate in priorities setting, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EPHTA activities. Each partner is expected to contribute to, and to benefit from, the Programme activities.