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Sunday, 18 October 2009

IITA Press Release : Zambian Agriculture

Press Release by IITA :

Zambia to become agric support hub for Southern Africa

Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia is set to become the regional focal point for agricultural research support in southern Africa as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) picked the country to host its Southern Africa Administrative Hub to assist its Research for Development (R4D) activities in the region.

According to Dr Bryan Harvey, Chair of IITA’s Board of Trustees, the institute has, since 2004, been working on how to more effectively and efficiently establish itself in sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve this, IITA decided to focus its administrative support systems at three focal points: the West, East, and South.

The West will be covered by IITA-Nigeria, and the East by IITA-Tanzania. And after an extensive selection and deliberation process, the institute picked Zambia to be the focal point in the South.

The Southern Administrative Hub will support Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and, as needed, the DR Congo.

Dr Bryan speaking during a forum on the role of research and training in enhancing food security, organized by the Institute and the University of Zambia said that the selection of the country to cover Southern Africa was not easy. IITA had to decide among Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa – all equally good candidates.

The move to have the Southern Administrative Hub in Zambia also effectively establishes IITA-Zambia.

Prior to this, IITA has had a long and productive history of working with the country.

In the early 1980s, IITA, partnering with the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) and other national partners, launched a massive program to fight two of cassava’s deadliest pests - the mealy bug and the green mite - saving thousands of hectares of the crop. The successes achieved in the country were then replicated in other cassava-producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

To formalize its presence in Zambia, IITA’s Board of Trustees–the institute’s governing body–is meeting in Lusaka on 17-20 October to discuss ways to push IITA-Zambia partnership forward and the future of the hub, among other things.

The Open Forum held on 15 October coincided with the celebration of World Food Day and was held at the university.


For more information, please contact:

Dr David Chikoye,
R4D Director for Southern Africa

Catherine Njuguna,
Regional Corporate Communications Officer (East Africa)

Jeffrey T Oliver,
Corporate Communications Officer (International)
Communication Office
Ibadan, Nigeria


About IITA
Africa has complex problems that plague agriculture and people's lives. We develop agricultural solutions with our partners to tackle hunger and poverty. Our award winning research for development (R4D) is based on focused, authoritative thinking anchored on the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with partners in Africa and beyond to reduce producer and consumer risks, enhance crop quality and productivity, and generate wealth from agriculture. IITA is an international non-profit R4D organization founded in 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the CGIAR.

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