The Cassava Adding Value for Africa Phase II Project Country Manager for Nigeria, Prof. Lateef Sanni, has been re-elected for a second term as the President of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops, African Branch (ISTRC-AB) at the 13th triennial international symposium of the society in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
In a keenly contested election rounding off the one-week symposium, Sanni, who is also the Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria, emerged as the President while Dr Kiddo Mtunda, elected as the First Vice President.
Others were Dr. Bosola Oladeinde CAVA II Deputy Director; Fund Raising Officer, Dr Richardson Okechukwu CAVA II Agronomist; Editor- In- Chief, Dr Pheneas Ntawuruhunga, Secretary, Dr Simon Ezen; Assistant Secretary, Dr Elizabeth Parkes; Treasurer, and Dr Godwin Asumugha as an Associate Editor.
Other elected officers for another two years were CAVA II Country Manager for Malawi Vito Sandifolo, Dr Nzola Mahungu; Dr Robert Asiedu; Chief Alfred Dixon; Dr Peter Kulakow as Ex-Officio while Dr Kanayo Chukwuka; Kwame Ogero and Ms Moita Nassy Laurentine Marielle; got elected for Western, Eastern, Central and Southern Africa respectively.
In his acceptance speech, Prof. Sanni promised that the team would redouble their efforts in uplifting the standard of the Society in order to meet up with the set objectives.
He said the Society has commenced capacity building for their early career scientists, especially on proposal writing and increased interactions among scientists from around the world working on all tropical root and tuber crops.
Sanni said "let us take advantage of other minor but resilience root and tuber crops that offer to our farmers and develop ambitious research and development plans to bring these crops into mainstream food basket into the market channels of our countries and Research for Development to build them into bastions of food security and income generation’’.
Participants in group photo
Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA II) is a project led by the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria, working closely with Natural Resources Institute of University of Greenwich, United Kingdom; Food Research Institute Ghana; Tanzania Food and Nutrition Center, Tanzania; Africa Innovations Institute, Uganda; Chancellor College, University of Malawi alongside several partners.
The project aims to increase the incomes of at least 200,000 value chain actors, especially smallholder farmers and processors in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi, by at least USD177 million in five years. This will be achieved through stimulating sales of more than two million tons of cassava into HQCF and other cassava product value chains.
The premise of the CAVA II project is that if new markets for cassava can be developed and smallholders linked to them at scale, then farmers will increase their incomes and adopt new productivity enhancing technologies. The project intends to work across the value-added cassava chain, specifically focusing on a number of bottlenecks that have slowed growth and progress from previous projects:
The project works directly with farmers to improve profitability of cassava sales, both through the pull of market demand and through increasing farmer yields with improved stems
Over 300 registered participants including the World President of the society, Prof Keith Tomlins, attended the symposium and guests from 21 countries with over 334 abstracts received were presented by the scientists during the symposium.
The countries include Germany, Switzerland, France, UK, USA, South Africa, Colombia, DR Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Ghana, Benin, CAR, Sierra Leone, Cote d`Ivoire, India, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Malawi and the host country, Tanzania, Burundi and Peru.
The symposium has as its theme "Expanding Collaboration, Catalyzing Innovation of Root Crops for Accelerating Africa’s Economic Growth’’ and Zambia will host the 14th edition.
Other highlights of the symposium were award of recognition for outstanding leadership and contributions to the development of root and tuber crops in Africa given to The Director general of IITA, Dr N. Saginga; Chief Alfred Dixon; Dr Npoko Bokanga; Dr Nzola Mahungu; Dr Robert Asiedu; Prof. Malachy Akoroda; Dr Regina Kapinga; Nobel Laurette Dr Andrade Maria; and Dr Kennet Nwosu (Posthumous).