In Western Africa, IITA works across 11 countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Ecologically, West Africa comprises of various areas from the subhumid and mostly dry Guinea and Sudan savanna in the north to the more southern humid forests that receive ample rainfall. Our mandate in Western Africa is to strengthen our R4D capacity in key farming systems located in these major agroecological zones, targeting farmers in various climates and pushing area-specific innovations. Therefore, in West Africa we want to consolidate the gains for cassava in lowland areas, enhance and diversify maize-legume farming system integration in the moist savannas, promote cereal, cowpea and livestock integration in the dry savannas, and develop high-value crops and enterprises suited to each of these different impact zones. Furthermore, with the West African middle class projected to reach 175 million people by 2025, we want to capitalize on their changing diets by increasing the production and processing of desired crops advanced by IITA. We will achieve these goals in the region by leveraging our 550 staff members, over 60 of whom are scientists, across our 11 stations and offices, including in our Western Africa regional hub and IITA Headquarters based in Ibadan, Nigeria. What We Do In The West Our research facilities in Western Africa include expansive laboratories for biotechnology, plant health sciences, GIS, biometrics, and crop utilization. Also in Western Africa, IITA has made a long-term commitment to conserve Africa’s great variety of both plant and nonplant genetic resources. Consequently, the region plays host to the Genetic Resources Center in Ibadan, Nigeria, that conserves global accessions of crop species and their wild relatives and holds the world’s largest collection of cowpea. Similarly the Biodiversity Center at our station in Benin maintains thousands of samples of insects, and is responsible for the largest collection of insects and microorganisms in West Africa. Big Moments And Breakthroughs In Western Africa we also have a special focus on Capacity Development. We are well aware of the fact that in today’s information-based world knowledge acquisition, dissemination, and utilization is key to economic development and growth. In line with this, we have introduced innovative Farmer Field Schools (FFS), Farmer Learning Groups (FLG), and Video Viewing Clubs (VVC) across West Africa that have empowered 3,852 farmers and been shown to increase crop yields by 40%. One of our most important breakthroughs in Western Africa has been our recent efforts to get rid of aflatoxins in grains and legumes using biological controls. Our work has attracted global commendation as in farm trials using our biological control product, aflasafeTM successfully reduce aflatoxin contamination by more than 90%. The triumph of aflasafeTM has enabled IITA Western Africa to set up the Business Incubation Platform (BIP) that includes a designated factory to produce aflasafeTM as well as a stage for other innovative agricultural products and the IITA Youth Agripreneurs whose goal is to encourage more African youths to get involved with agriculture. In Western Africa we continuously seek wealth-creation solutions that will improve livelihoods and work long term.  

Countries in West Africa Hub